February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Mem Fox Pens Letter of Gratitude to Fans in the U.S.

Mem Fox loves America right back.

Last February 8, the beloved Australian children’s author was detained by U.S. border police in Los Angeles as she made her way to Milwaukee for the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) Convention. Fox, who has written more than 30 books, including Possum Magic (HMH, 1991), compared her experience to being a “prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.”

American fans of Fox rallied around her, showing support and concern. Among them was Amy Berkun, the children’s reference associate at New Milford (CT) Public Library. She leads a “friendship circle” for elementary school children at the library. As a group activity, the children wrote letters to Fox and drew pictures for her, which Berkun sent off to her in Adelaide, South Australia.

Mem Fox’s letter of thanks to Amy Berkun

Fox replied to Berkun and the kids with a handwritten note of thanks, saying their efforts “gave me hope, and took away despair.”

She also included a second thank-you note for the more than 150 others in the United States, among whom were a sizable number of librarians, who had showered her with kind messages in February. “She asked if we could help get her thanks to the other folks who wrote letters to her,” Sue Ford, children’s services librarian at New Milford, told SLJ. “We thought putting it out on Facebook might get the message to the right people. Social media for the win!”

Mem Fox’s message to her U.S. letter writers

In the letter, Fox explained that due to the death of her sister, she was unable to reply individually to all the “divine” people who wrote to her. She added that “So many people wrote by hand, I had to do so myself!”


Extra Helping header

This article was featured in our free Extra Helping enewsletter.
Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to you twice a week.



  1. Mem Fox is wonderful. Truly a treasure. Thank you for sharing this note.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind