Finding Francois by Gus Gordon

One morning, early, before the birds had eaten their breakfast, Alice walked down to the river. She had a plan.

Alice lives with her grandmother in a big city. She has no brother or sister and although she loves her grandmother dearly, she often wishes she has someone her own size to talk to.

Which is why she comes up with the most magical idea – to write a letter, seal it in a bottle and then throw it in the ocean in the hope that someone will read it and reply.

The bottle floats out of sight, is captured, picked up and dropped. Eventually it drifts towards the shoreline of a different place and into the hands of someone the same size as Alice named Francois.

Francois and Alice form a beautiful friendship as they get to know each other through simple letters they send as often as the bottle arrives.

The letters between the two children are simply written and brief yet so very sweet, heartfelt and kind. Both children are in need of someone who understands them and the letters provide that.

It isn’t until Alice loses her grandmother that she can’t think about anything other than her, nothing makes her happy and she forgets to send her messages to Francois. It isn’t until her pile of old letters from Francois are found that an unlikely event occurs, bringing the two closer than they ever imagined!

This stunning picture book written by the clever author-illustrator, Gus Gordon shows the importance of finding those people who understand you for who you are and what you love, not just for where you live, what you look like or even what you do!

Finding Francois by Gus Gordon might even inspire more letter writers in the knowledge that receiving a letter brings so much joy, not only in the writing of it but the anticipation of getting one when you least expect it!

Teaching ideas

  • Inspire children to write letters to someone they know and post it to them without telling them so it is a surprise
  • Find a penpal – Australia post often runs a program where students are set up with other students around Australia to write to.
  • Look into famous letters that have been found in bottles and what they said.
  • Find out why people have placed letters in bottles to send a message.
  • Explore ocean currents and discuss they best places to throw bottles in the water if you want to get it to a certain place!

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