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Dear Sylvia

Written by Alan Cumyn

  • 184 Pages
  • 9780888998484
  • 8" x 5"
  • Reading age from 8 to 11
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Friendship


Publication Date April 01, 2008

Winner of the OLA's Forest of Reading Silver Birch Express Award

Sylvia Tull -- the girl whose very glance turns Owen's face into a burning tomato -- has moved away from the small village where Owen lives with his parents and two brothers. But he still has the birthday gift she gave him -- a stationery set, complete with stamped envelopes -- because she wants him to keep sending her stories.

So Owen nervously begins to write Sylvia about all the things that are going on in his life. How his little brother, Leonard, got his head stuck in the bannister. The disastrous camping trip with his irritating girl cousins. How his new baby cousin will only stop screaming if Owen carries her.

And he tells her about the most bewildering drama to hit the Skye household yet, when the boys' father quits his insurance job to write a novel, and all the Skyes have to cope with the consequences.

Alan Cumyn has written an irresistible epistolary novel. Owen is a true writer in his head -- but getting the right words onto the page is another story. Young readers will easily identify as he wrestles with his spelling, with his writer's insecurity, and with his deep desire to tell Sylvia the truth about what is going on in his life, and in his heart.

Winner of the OLA Silver Birch Express 2008

Short-listed for the Ottawa Book Award 2008


Alan Cumyn
Alan Cumyn has written many highly acclaimed novels for both children and adults. His three Owen Skye books have won several major awards. The Secret Life of Owen Skye won the Mr. Christie's Award and was nominated for the Governor General's Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award and the Pacific Northwest Libraries Association Young Readers Choice Award. After Sylvia was nominated for the TD Children's Literature Award, and Dear Sylvia was shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association Children's Book of the Year Award. Alan is also a two-time winner of the Ottawa Book Award. Alan teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and is currently chair of the Writers' Union of Canada.


"...Dear Sylvia [is] a superb epistolary novel. Set in the 1960s, it pictures childhood in all its innocence and charm, as well as its messiness and awkwardness, even in the face of poverty and dissapointment. Children Ages 8 to 11 will find a friend in Owen. Adults iwll love him because he makes them remember their own childhoods. fast becoming one of today's leading Canadian writers for children." Montreal Gazette

"Alan Cumyn again displays his superb writing chops and keen insights of children in a letter-writing tale that is eventful, funny, openhearted and wise...Cumyn's ear for the poetry of children's Owen's letters perfect comic timing...Dear Sylvia picks up on characters, feelings and images from its predecessors [The Secret Life of Owen Skye and After Sylvia] a way that's natural and illuminating." Toronto Star

"Cumyn...delivers enough Skye family drama...and love-is-a-many-splendoured-thing moments to more than satisfy." Globe and Mail