It’s that time of year! Christmas in May? Well, that, and BEA! This year, we're offering our in-booth contest for a Santa Claus, Indiana, prize package to online book lovers as well!
In 1914, the United States Post Office began courtesy forwarding some letters addressed to Santa Claus to a tiny town of the same name in Indiana, where the new Postmaster there, James Martin, took it upon himself to reply. In 1930, he was featured in a Ripley’s Believe it or Not cartoon panel and the number of letters vastly increased. Now 100 years later, the town receives over 400,000 pieces of mail each December and has an official operation in which volunteer elves reply, called Santa’s Elves. Containing more than 250 of these actual letters and envelopes from the naughty and nice reaching back to the 1930s, Letters to Santa Claus, our new book due out this October, will touch readers’ hearts and bring back memories of a time in our lives when the man with a white beard and a red suit held out the hope that our wishes might come true. Its letters are arranged chronologically and are a window into the past, capturing the hopes and dreams of kids and adults over the years while resting against a backdrop of national events that affected their daily lives.
Arriving from all corners of the globe, the letters ask for toys, family reunions, snow, and help for the needy—sometimes the needy being the writers themselves. They are candid, heartfelt, and often blunt. Many children wonder how Santa gets into their chimneyless homes, others send keys. One child reminds Santa that she has not hit her brothers over 1,350 times that year, and another respectfully requests two million dollars in “cold cash.” One child hopes to make his life better with a time machine, prisoners send wishes for their children, kids ask for their parents to return from war, an adult woman asks for a man (in a very specific letter), and one miscreant actually threatens Santa’s reindeer! Some letters even arrive in braille.
On Thursday, May 28, from 10–11:00 a.m., afterword author Emily Weisner Thompson will sign advance copies of the book at Book Expo America in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, booth 1069.
Sad to miss the advance signing? YOU can write a letter to Santa and enter to win a December getaway to Santa’s Lodge in Santa Claus, Indiana, including Christmas Dinner with Santa and a journey through the Santa Claus Land of Lights, along with a copy of Letters to Santa Claus and some other local Santa Claus, Indiana goodies. Winners will be responsible transportation to and around town.