same, same but different/snail mail collective

10955187 Same, Same, But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw.

My friend Anna recommended this book after reading my post on The Giant Hug and Mail. I’m so glad she did! Elliot in America and Kailash in India are pen pals. Or, more specifically, picture pals. They send art and details of their lives back and forth. Each boy learns how the other boy is different. But also how they’re the same. What a beautiful concept.

ssbdjacket_reverse Elliot lives with a family of four, Kailash with a family of twenty-three relatives.  Elliot has two pets while Kailash has a courtyard of farm animals. Same, same but different! That’s a phrase book creator Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw learned when she traveled to Nepal and India. There, she set up an art exchange between students in different countries. And that’s how this lovely story was born.



images courtesy of Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw


The author/illustrator’s daughter has received her own mail from a friend in India too! tulsi_indiapcfromdaya1


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I signed up with The Snail Mail Collective in September which has a very similar idea. I was paired up with Kate who is from the UK but lives in Germany (and is otherwise traveling the world). We got to know each other through emails and our blogs (hers is Diaries of an Essex Girl) and then each sent a postcard and package to that other part of the world! September’s theme was Back to School and this is the contents of what I sent Kate after sussing out her fondness for certain school supplies. Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 2.52.35 PM   Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 3.16.44 PM Imagine my delight when this package below arrived yesterday, all the way from Germany! Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 5.43.14 PM My favorite detail is that Kate told me a six-year old German girl did the wrap job. And it’s fabulous. Like me, she used washi tape! Same, same but different. Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 5.50.55 PM 1: notebook; 2: chalkboard pin; 3: glitter pen (oh yes!); 4: mini canvas and easel; 5: postcard.


Kate included a nice mix of papery stuff and picturey stuff, perfect for This Picture Book Life’s blogger. And the yellow bag is pretty wonderful. This exchange was such an affirmation of the joy of snail mail as well as, like the picture book, the ways we live differently while having plenty in common too. Thanks to The Nectar Collective for a bridge-building snail mail experience! You can see the other snail mail exchanges this month here.

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13 Responses to same, same but different/snail mail collective

  1. Oh, you! I haven’t even read this whole thing yet, cause I always have to savor them slowly. But I love love love that you are sharing this book. I think it flew way under the radar! Also: glitter pens. Yes.

  2. This was a terrific post – thank you for sharing 🙂 I like to use this picture book with another companion text (“Mirror” by Jeannie Baker)

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  4. jenny sue says:

    hi Danielle 🙂 what a fun post! i’m so honored to be a part of it! thank you for sharing my book and experience with your reader. i loved reading and seeing your pen pal art package exchange, too — it beats email any day!! i LOVE snail mail! also, “Mirror” is a wonderful book! i learned about it when a reader shared a graduate comparison paper she wrote on Same, Same but Different and Mirror. thanks again, and what a fun blog! keep on rockin’ it! cheers from new mexico 🙂 jenny sue

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  6. Hi Danielle – those necklaces are pretty fab, aren’t they? It’s the Heart in a Bottle one that I really covet.
    And I share your feeling about snail mail too. I once got a card in the mail from Lemony Snicket. Impressed my kids no end!
    Your blog is looking so great. Love how you put things together.

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