Letters for Kids


In Soupy Leaves Home, two misfits with no place to call home take a train-hopping journey from the cold heartbreak of their Eastern homes to the sunny promise of California in this Depression-era coming-of-age tale.

When Pearl runs away from her abusive father, she has nowhere to go—until she stumbles upon a disguise that gives her the key to a new identity. Reborn as a boy named Soupy, she hitches her star to Ramshackle, a hobo who takes her under his wing. Ramshackle’s kindness and protection go a long way toward helping Soupy heal from her difficult past. But he has his own demons to wrestle with, and he’ll need Soupy just as much as she needs him.

Purchase a yearly Letters for Kids subscription through August 31 and we’ll send you your own copy of Soupy Leaves Home!* Subscribe before August 1 and you’ll also receive an awesome letter from Soupy Leaves Home illustrator Jose Pimienta! Subscribe before August 15 and you’ll receive a letter explaining hobo symbols from the book’s author and your fearless Correspondence Editor, Cecil Castellucci!

Already have a subscription? Just extend or convert it to yearly and we’ll send you the book! Or give the gift of reading to another child, school, or library. If you are you a librarian or teacher buying for your classroom, we can postpone the start of your subscription until school reopens in the fall! Just email Wendy AT therumpus.net. Subscribe today!

*Subscription must be purchased by August 31, 2017. Offer valid while supplies last. Due to shipping costs, this offer is only available in the US.

“Soupy’s journey comes alive through richly color-saturated, usually monochromatic panels that orient readers to a bygone era. Castellucci has created a strong heroine who both defies conventionality and embodies empowerment… A compelling graphic offering that explores relevant gender roles and self-identity through a historical lens.”
– Kirkus Starred Review

“Castellucci’s heartfelt odyssey is a reckoning with death and identity on the tracks, brought to life by Pimienta’s patient, ever-evolving use of color. Soupy Leaves Home is for all restless souls hungry to start again.”
– Nate Powell (MarchSwallow Me Whole)

“I love Cecil Castellucci, she is crazy and cool and full of energy and heart, and so is all of her work. And Soupy Leaves Home may be one of her finest and most effecting works yet!”
– Jeff Lemire

Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, and the Eisner-nominated Odd Duck. In 2015, she co-authored Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. She is currently writing Shade, The Changing Girl, an ongoing comic on Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint at DC Comics. Her newest graphic novel Soupy Leaves Home was released in April 2017. Her short stories and short comics have been published in Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Womanthology, Star Trek: Waypoint and Vertigo SFX: Slam! She is the Children’s Correspondence Editor for The Rumpus, a two-time MacDowell Fellow and the founding YA Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. She lives in Los Angeles.

Jose Pimienta (Joe Pi) was born in the Imperial Valley and raised as a Cachanilla in Mexicali, BC. During his upbringing, he was heavily influenced by animation, music, and short stories. He’s been drawing for as long as he can remember and loved analyzing everything on the TV screen. After high school, he left his garage band and ventured towards Savannah, Georgia where he studied sequential art and discovered the wonders of storyboarding, a wider variety of music, traveled more, and made friends. In 2009, he packed his belongings and drove to Los Angeles, with a friend to pursue a career in storyboarding. Nowadays, he resides in Tujunga where he takes walks every morning along with a big cup of coffee. He draws comics, storyboards, and sketches for visual development. Joe Pi still makes music and smiles as often as possible.

Letters for Kids fosters a love of reading and writing! We’ve been sending letters from authors to kids around the world since 2012! It’s great for children 6–12, educators, classrooms, and libraries. You can subscribe monthly, or get year-long subscription. Live outside the US? We have international monthly and  yearly subscriptions, too! And remember, Letters for Kids helps us keep The Rumpus running—so, your children can correspond with their favorite writers and you’ll support the website in one fell swoop. Rest assured, all letters are age-appropriate and written for children.

Subscribers receive two letters a month written specifically for the program by authors like Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Adam Rex, Kerry Madden, Natalie Standiford, Susan Patron, Rebecca Stead, Cecil Castellucci, Dan Gutman, and more. You can view sample letters here and here.

Each letter is a unique creation of the author and different than any other! Some are handwritten, others typed. Some are illustrated or include hand drawings, doodles, or photos. Most are color; some are black and white. It’s hard to say! The letters are signed, scanned, printed, and mailed to children around the world!

Most authors include an address so you can write back, and will even send a personal note to those children that write them. But we can’t guarantee it. We can’t control these people. Some of them live in the woods!

Letters for Kids is a wonderful teaching tool for classrooms, libraries, and educators that can help to meet multiple Common Core goals—like reading of literature and informational texts; developing and strengthening writing by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach; and learning conventions of standard English.

Missed your favorite author’s letter? Need a letter on a particular topic or subject matter for classroom discussion? We are now offering past letters available for individual sale!

You might be wondering why The Rumpus is doing something for a younger audience. Is it because we ourselves are getting older? Probably not. We can only respond with one of our favorite quotes from Dave Eggers, one of the founders of 826: “The wind knows nothing, don’t flatter her with your questions.” But really, we love kids and we love reading and writing. So, we want help provide them with the tools required to grow up and become lifelong readers, and to create an early interest in books and writing.

Letters for Kids is fun. Six is pretty much the perfect age to start checking your mailbox. And if you’ve waited until you were ten, well, you’re four years behind but still, it’s not too late. And if you’re sixteen, that’s okay, there’s still something of the kid left. And if you’re sixty, well… okay. You’re young at heart—or you may be interested in our Letters in the Mail program for adults.

Letters for Kids will be managed by the talented and mysterious YA author Cecil Castellucci, our Children’s Correspondence Coordinator (didn’t know we had one of those, did you?).



You can read reviews of Letters for Kids at The Simple Moms, Momma’s Bacon, Shooting Stars Magazine, Nancy Loewen.com, and Dr. Psych Mom.

Find profiles of Rumpus Letters from the United States Postal Service, Huffington PostUSA Today, and CBS’s This Morning with Charlie Rose.

Any questions, customer service, or if you just want to say hello, please contact [email protected].