Can you still have a home if you don’t have a house? Just Under the Clouds is a stunning debut about a family struggling to find something lasting when everything feels so fleeting.
Cora is a middle schooler, a big sister, and homeless. Her mother is trying to hold the family together after her father’s death. After their room at the shelter is ransacked, Cora’s mother looks to an old friend for help, and Cora finally finds what she has been looking for: Ailanthus altissima, the “tree of heaven,” which can grow in even the worst conditions. It sets her on a path to discover a deeper truth about where she really belongs. Just Under the Clouds will take root in your heart and blossom long after you’ve turned the last page.
“Troubling, affecting, and ultimately uplifting, from a promising debut novelist.” – Kirkus Reviews
“[A] thought provoking debut about the meaning of home and the importance of family.” – Horn Book Magazine
Purchase a yearly Letters for Kids subscription by March 31 and we’ll send you your own copy of Just Under the Clouds signed by the author Melissa Sarno*!
Already have a subscription? Just extend or convert it to yearly and we’ll send you the book! Or gift it and the book to a classroom, library, or another special child in your life! Subscribe today!
Melissa Sarno is the author of Just Under the Clouds and the forthcoming A Swirl of Ocean. She lives in the lower Hudson Valley of New York with her family. Read more about her at melissasarno.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @melissasarno.
*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 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 is managed by Jessica Vitalis, our awesome Children’s Correspondence Coordinator!
Any questions, customer service, or if you just want to say hello, please contact [email protected].