A Love Letter to Jon Klassen, Author of ‘I Want My Hat Back’

Dear adored children’s author Jon Klassen,

I have purchased the entirety of your Hat series, I Want My Hat Back, We Found a Hat, and This Is Not My Hat for my first cousins. While they may have not enjoyed them as much as I had, I’ll still purchase them for future cousins to come. 


I first fell in love with your books while working at an independent bookstore in quiet Sunnyvale, California. The associated children’s bookstore next door carried your books, so when I sauntered in looking to expand my literary range, I saw it. The newly published We Found a Hat.  It’s pink and grey ombre cover and the cute little turtles just sitting so entrancingly. I grabbed the book and took it next door, not knowing what I was getting myself into.



Image Via Tumblr


From my past experiences in children’s literature, I was expecting a simplified story with a moral about friendship, family, or how to be a decent child in the world. Your writing and illustrations gave a whole new meaning to picture books.



Image Via Amazon


Just look at that turtle’s side eye. I have never seen a more relevant expression in any pictorial depiction in my twenty years of life. By the end of the book, I was hooked. The New York Times blurb about We Found A Hat being “a masterpiece” and The Boston Globe calling it “a moving story about loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, and the power of imagination” were no understatements. Thank goodness you had four other books published at the time. I ran next door, slammed the book on the counter, and ran back over to the children’s book section to pick up a copy of every book we had. 


Amazon’s description of I Want My Hat Back left me with many questions, “A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.” I could be getting myself into anything at this point and I stayed unafraid. I swiftly went back to the front desk on my side of the store and opened up I Want My Hat Back


The range of emotion expressed by this bear is immeasurable and I will never find a better visual expression of betrayal and realization of the betrayal in beautiful watercolor paintings. While browsing around the internet, I also found a video recreation of I Want My Hat Back which perfectly displays the same emotions felt while reading it.



Image Via Goodreads



Image Via Gallery Nucleus


You can use feel the tension in the bear and rabbit’s eyes. 



Image Via Pinterest


While browsing around the internet, I also found a video recreation of I Want My Hat Back which perfectly displays the same emotions felt while reading it.



This was the moment that I decided that my gift to future generations of children would be a set of your books. Not only are they enjoyable for children, but also provide just enough entertainment for their adult reading counterparts. I spent the rest of the night reading all of your work and have never been more content and at peace while reading children’s literature. They were smart enough to get me audibly laughing and they didn’t dumb down concepts for children.


Along with your fantastic children’s books, your twitter is absolute gold. A few days ago you shared a series of books from Mia Coulton about a yellow labrador named Danny.



Another day you retweeted a picture of a very round duck wearing a cute little hat from the account Round Animals and have spread the cute critters to my Twitter feed.



You have not only shared the joys of children’s literature, but also nuggets of gold on Twitter.  


Thank you Jon Klassen for all the joy with which you have provided me, and now my cousins, for the past two years. 


Maybe together, we could find a hat. 


Featured Image Via PictureBook Makers.