Letters for Kids


Think you know vehicles? Think again! Unconventional Vehicles is a nonfiction collection of forty-five of the strangest, most unconventional vehicles that have ever existed. Vehicles include an underwater battery-powered scooter, a carriage pulled by ostriches, a hot air balloon shaped like the Cathedral of Saint Gall, and five different jet packs.

Unconventional Vehicles explores very strange modes of transportation for vehicle fans, rocket inventors, budding space-and-aeronautics experts, and anyone who’s ever thought, “Why can’t I ride a motorized suitcase through the airport?”

“This fun and informative entry in the Uncommon Compendiums series will appeal to lovers of vehicles of all kinds. Hearst provides hilarious asides as he presents facts about 45 quirky and unusual vehicles, which he defines as ‘just about anything that moves (and typically carries something else)… including animals!’ Each entry’s history, manufacturer, and year of production is accompanied by colored line drawings, diagrams and cross sections, and related factoids… Kids will enjoy learning about these fascinating and outlandish vehicles.” – Booklist

Brimming with fascinating facts and diagrams presented with wit and humor, this book is sure to enthrall vehicle enthusiasts of every age!

Through May 31, 2021, purchase a six-month Letters for Kids subscription and we’ll send you your own copy of Unconventional Vehicles* signed by the author Michael Hearst! Already have a monthly subscription? Just extend or convert it to a six-month subscription and we’ll send you the book! Or, gift a subscription and the book to a classroom, library, or another special child in your life!

Michael Hearst is a writer, musician, and composer. His other books include Unusual Creatures, Extraordinary People, and Curious Constructions. Each book includes a companion album, and Unusual Creatures was also made into a PBS Digital series, hosted by Hearst. As a musician, Hearst has recorded and released more than a dozen albums, some with his band One Ring Zero, and others under his own name, such as Songs for Ice Cream Trucks, Songs for Fearful Flyers, and Songs for Unusual Creatures. In addition, he has composed music for several films, including To Be TakeiMagic Camp, Chicken People, and The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin. Hearst lives in a Brooklyn. You can visit him on Facebook and Twitter.

Photograph of Michael Hearst by Franck Bohbot.

*Offer valid while supplies last. Due to shipping costs, this offer is only available for US subscriptions.

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 purchase a 6-month subscription for extra savings. Live outside the US? We offer an international 6-month subscription, 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, Kerry Madden, Rebecca Stead, Cecil Castellucci, Lisa Yee, Dan Gutman, Meg Medina, Henry Lien, Susan Muaddi Durraj, 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 drawings, doodles, or photos. The letters are signed by hand, scanned, printed, and mailed to children around the world. Every author 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 is managed by Rosiee Thor, our awesome Children’s Correspondence Coordinator!

HOLIDAY NOTE: All subscriptions purchased on or after November 25 will begin on January 1, 2021. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.


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 Post, and USA Today.

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