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Mailing May

mailing may Nowadays it's no big deal for a girl to travel seventy-five miles. But when Charlotte May Pierstorff wanted to cross seventy-five miles of Idaho mountains to see her grandmother in 1914, it was a very big deal indeed. Here is the true story of how May finally got to visit grandma--thanks to her own spunk, her father's ingenuity, and the U.S. mail.


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  • Best Books of 1997—Crayola Kids Magazine.
  • Best Books of 1997—Child Magazine.
  • 1997 Parents’ Choice Gold Award.
  • 1998 Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies—a Selectors’ Choice.
  • A Deseret Book Club selection.
  • American Library Association Notable Book for Children, 1998 (unanimous choice).
  • 1998 Notable Book in the Language  (National Council of Teachers of English). 
  • 1998 Teachers’ Choices (International Reading Association).
  • A CCBC Choices 1997 (Cooperative Children’s Book Center).
  • 1998 Storytelling World Honor Award (Storytelling World).
  • Outstanding Achievement in Pictures Books Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media.
  • Troll Book Club edition.
  • Master list nominations for the following state book awards:
    • Utah Children’s Picture Book Award, 1998-99.
    • Virginia Young Readers Award--Primary Level.
    • Missouri Show Me Readers Reader.
    • North Dakota Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award (picture book category).
    • Nebraska Golden Sower Award Grades K-3.
    • Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award, 1999-2000.
    • Delaware Diamonds Book Award (grades 2 through 4.
    • Washington Children’s Book Award (picture books).
    • Nevada Younger Readers’ Award (picture book category).
    • Indiana Young Hoosier Picture Book Award.
    • California Young Reader Medal Program.
    • Georgia Picture Storybook Award.
    • Colorado Children’s Book Award (Picture Book Category).
    • Ohio Buckeye Children’s Book Award (Grades K-2).


What the Critics Said:

“May tells the story of her bygone journey with homespun perfection, so stamp this on “First Class” and make a special delivery to a storytime in your area.”  (Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books).

Mailing May is a heartwarming period piece based on a true incident, lovingly told, beautifully illustrated and extremely well produced in an oversize format. . .  The story has a childlike, understated quality that is perfectly matched by the warmth of the illustrations . . .” (New York Times Book Review)

“Tunnell recounts this quirky slice of Americana with color and flair . . .”  (Publishers Weekly)

“Told in first person from May’s point of view, the story has a folksy quality and a ring of truth that will hold children’s interest beyond the central anecdote.”  (Booklist, Carolyn Phelan)

"Sometimes there is a perfect match between author and illustrator. That is the case here. Michael O. Tunnell wrote this in the first person, just as if the real May were telling it to her great-great-grandchildren today. And Ted Rand's luscious watercolor illustrations make this book a collector's delight." [Krys Stefansky, Flyinocean (lxfly1437.blogspot.com)]

Additional Features:


May when she was five years old, about the age when she was mailed.

The Camas Prairie Railroad at about the time May would have ridden in the mail car as a package.

May’s grandmother’s house as it looked several years after May was mailed to her.



Illustrated by Ted Rand.  HarperTrophy, 2000.  (Original publisher:  Greenwillow/William Morrow, 1997.)