Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2018 finalist, Kaashvi Agnihotri! Kaashvi finished 9th grade this past school year. The story she submitted is called “Dear Dad.”  One of our judges said this about Kaashvi’s manuscript: “The voices of the characters, as expressed through letters, were unique and well-crafted. I loved how the story developed through the correspondence and the slow reveal of what lay underneath what was being written and what was being left unsaid.” Enjoy!


Today, Mommy took me to the mean doctor. I do not like the mean doctor. Mommy says that to be strong like you, I have to go to the mean doctor. Every time my tummy hurts she takes me. Can you come back and tell Mommy that I don’t like the doctor? Mommy talks about you a lot. Jade’s mom came over today. She made cookies. I like cookies. But I don’t like her cookies. Mommy said that you’ll make cookies when you come back for my birthday. I really, really miss your special cookies and the really yummy chocolate cakes that only you can make. Please, please, please come back!!
Love,
Jeremy

 

Dear Jeremy,
You don’t have to be afraid of the doctor. The doctor is secretly a wizard, and his medicine is a secret potion that will make you strong, like Superman. If you keep drinking it, you will be a superhero, and your tummy won’t hurt. I think it’s nice that Jade’s mom gave you cookies. I promise I will make you a ton of cookies when I come home, and some chocolate cake for you to eat on your birthday, too. I’ll be back soon.
Love,
Dad

 

I still don’t like the mean wizard doctor, but since you said he’s good, I’ll be nice to him. It makes Mommy happy too, so it’s important to me, too! Today I did awesome at baseball! We won and there was screaming and loudness everywhere! I wish you could see it. But then David fell and his face was all icky with mud. David’s dad had to come to pick him up. It was super icky, but then his dad gave him a hug and they both got icky. Then it looked fun. Can we do that too? Please come back!
All of my love in the world,
Jeremy

 

Dear Jeremy,
I bet you did awesome at baseball. David getting mud all over his face does sound icky. That happened to me, too. There was wet mud everywhere on my face, but I did it on purpose. It makes me look like the dirt, so it helps me to hide from the bad guys. We can do some mud stuff when I get home, I promise. Don’t tell your mom I said that, though, or she’ll be pretty angry. I promise I’ll come back soon to give you all the hugs and dirt you want.
Love,
Dad

 

I like mud!!! And I won’t tell mommy!! Miss Teacherbrown says that’s called a secret. Secrets are weird, and Miss Teacherbrown said they aren’t that good, but they’re cool sometimes too. I think this time is okay. ALSO I counted and it’s been like 300 whole days since you’ve been gone. That’s almost forever! Mommy says it will take time because the bad guy’s evil lair is really far away. Can’t you use your super cool jet plane? Mommy says you don’t have one, but every superhero has one, so I know I’m right. Jet planes are super cool. Mommy says she’ll buy me a toy one to play with for my number 8 of birthday. She says I can show you when you come. She gets worried about you. Please hurry up!
Jeremy

 

Dear Jeremy,
Happy 8th birthday, buddy! I’m so sorry I missed it, but I hope you liked the toys I told Mommy to buy you. I promise I’ll be home soon. I had a jet plane, but the bad guy broke it with one of his scary explosions. I would love to see your new jet plane. I bet it’s super cool. Tell Mommy that I’ll be fine. I’m on my way back.
See you soon,
Dad

 

Mommy said you’re in trouble. She says a person on the phone told her that you got hurt. You should eat some medicine! Or maybe put on a band-aid! I’ll try to get Mommy to send you one. She doesn’t hug me anymore. She’s always mad or sad. She doesn’t read me stories anymore and sleeps a lot. Jade’s mom says that band-aids won’t help, but I have really cool Superman ones that can fix everything! Maybe Mommy just needs Superman and hugs. I can hug people! Mommy said they make her feel nice once when I hugged her. I’ll give her a hug. I want to show you my jet plane.
Love, love love
Jeremy

 

Daddy, where are you? I sent my before letter like a month ago! That’s like half of ever! Everyone’s super sad and worried now. The kids at school are now super weird. They’re too nice to me. It’s not fun. It makes me feel bad because they look at me like I’m sad. I’m not sad. I’m strong! I think. Please hurry, Daddy. I’m scared. Mommy is too.
Love you a gazillion,
Jeremy

 

Hey buddy,
Your father is hurt, but he told me to tell you that the potion from the mean wizard doctor will make him feel better. He can’t talk right now, but he misses you very much, and will come home soon. Tell your mother that everything will be okay. Your father is getting better.
Stay strong,
Anthony

 

Daddy, why won’t you reply anymore? I keep getting letters from your friend Anthony. I want to talk to you, Daddy. Please get better! You promised me cookies and cake and all the hugs in the world! Mommy is very very sad. She still doesn’t read me her stories anymore. I don’t bother her too much because she’s still sad. Please please please please times a hundred times come home! We miss you very very much!
Jeremy

 

Daddy, Mommy says you’re coming back with your friend Anthony! Why didn’t you tell me? She’s very happy now and made a lot of cake. But she also went and bought a chair with those wheels on it that you said were for people that don’t need to walk. She says that sometimes superheroes don’t walk, so it’s for you. Mommy says you’ll be back in two months and she counts down each day. She’s happy now and reads me two stories every day. I think she just missed you. I missed you too. Two months is forever. I made a time machine to make it come faster. Mommy said it worked but it still feels like forever.
Love you!
Jeremy

 

Dear Jeremy,
I wrote this letter to let you know that I’m almost home! I know you wanted to meet Anthony, too, since you wrote a lot of letters to him, but he won’t be coming home. I will be, though, because your Superman powers saved me. I’ll make all the cookies and cake you want, okay? I can’t wait to see you again, bud. I love you so much.
Dad

 

I couldn’t say this to you, but I was really really happy to see you today. I wanted to hug you, but Mommy said you wouldn’t be able to hold me because you only have one leg. I think it’s cool that you only have one. Now you can sit in a cool chair with wheels so you’ll never be tired! You look like Professor X from the movie with the wolf man. You can still bake cookies and you can still come to watch my games. Don’t worry, I’ll pick you up if you fall in the mud this time! Mommy says I get to be a big boy now. I feel like a big boy, but I missed you a lot. Everyone is happier now that you’re here.
Love you,
Jeremy

 


Wondering how to support the youth writer in your life? We can help! Check out our cheat-sheet below which will help you have creative, writerly conversations with your Young Inkling—even if you’re not a writer yourself.