Kiwi Author Pen Pals is run by three New Zealand authors: Kate B. Gordon (left), who also runs the Kiwi Kids’ Bookstore, Jo van Dam (centre), who’s also a school librarian, and Jenn Rackham (right), who is also a comic artist and illustrator. Together, they are getting this programme underway in Aotearoa.


When Kate saw British-Australian children’s author Kate Foster and international author Dee White launch this initiative in Australia, she immediately wanted to see how she could help connect New Zealand authors and illustrators and school classes in the same way.

Kiwi Author Pen Pals is supported for key projects like its website by the Kiwi Kids’ Bookstore, an online bookstore founded and run by Kate which features only books by New Zealanders for children and teens.

All sign-up forms come to Kate and she’ll be working with Jo and Jenn alongside each author or illustrator to find them a great class to be paired with as pen pals.

If you’re a New Zealand children’s author, teacher or school librarian who’d like to get involved and help Kate with this fun initiative, please get in touch 🙂

If you have any questions about Kiwi Author Pen Pals, you can contact Kate via the bookstore kate@kiwikidsbooks.nz.


Future goals

Kate, Jo and Jenn want Kiwi Author Pen Pals to be known throughout Aotearoa by children, educators, authors, illustrators and carers as being associated with a passion and joy for books and reading.

The hope is that, initially, the initiative grows and evolves throughout the next 12 months as more schools, authors and illustrators get involved.

The initiative required little expenditure from either schools or authors and illustrators. It does require imagination and time, and we hope this can be incorporated into lessons in a meaningful way. The postcards are something students will look forward to receiving and responding to. Authors and illustrators will welcome the students’ correspondence.

At present, Kiwi Author Pen Pals is small and there are bound to be teething issues to work through. It’s run and funded by Kate and she welcomes any support or ideas others have for the successful implementation and growth of this initiative.

We are also seeking additional funding to support the development of this website with various things like content examples and ideas for authors, illustrators and class communications, author remuneration, and perhaps stationery for schools and authors to use for their correspondence. Of course, it’s one step at a time!

Thank you for taking the time to support Kiwi Author Pen Pals. It’s very much appreciated.

Best wishes,
Kate, Jo and Jenn