Your Friend, Melissa

by ReaderKidZ on October 31, 2011

Dear Reader,

I’m thrilled you are reading BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY. My family always watched the Macy’s Day parade with the huge balloons bobbing through New York City, but I never thought about who actually made the balloons.

When I first learned about Tony Sarg as a puppeteer and illustrator, I found out he was the man who also invented the Macy’s parade balloons. I had a million questions! When did that happen? Why—was he hired to do it or was it for fun? And how did he make them? I knew I had to do a book about him, but since no one had written about him before, I had to piece together the story of his life.

During the time I was researching and writing, I decided to make toys and puppets, just like Tony Sarg did. I’ve always liked to make things and I have a lot of materials in my studio–children’s blocks, fabric, old toys and bits of things to play with. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done because it helped me think about his life as puppeteer might have been like. Everything you see in Balloons Over Broadway are the things I made (only there were about 10 times more that I could not fit in the book!).

Writing does not come easily to me. I never thought I would write a book until I wrote CARMINE. I’ve learned that if I edit and keep going, slowly the story begins to unfold.

Then it starts to get exciting.  I really believe that making pictures and playing with materials helps me know what to write about. Writing and making art should be fun, so I like to “play” in the studio as much as I can.

That’s one thing I love about Tony Sarg– he had so much fun doing what he did–he didn’t worry if something didn’t work or turn out as he planned. He’d just try again. I like to think that now people will know him and be inspired to try to make things—just for the fun of it.

Your friend,


Download a copy of “Your Friend, Melissa Sweet (A Letter to Readers)” HERE.

For more about Melissa Sweet and her books, visit her website HERE.

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