Recently Orlando Appledore received the following missive from Harry, a sixth grade student from Brooklyn, NY:

Orlando, why did you run away just after you discovered the Fountain of Youth? Wasn’t discovering it your lifelong dream? -Harry

Orlando penned the following reply and asked me to post it for him.

Dear Young Sir,

Thank you for contacting me pertaining this vital manner. I would like to begin by commending you on your name. Of course one has no say over one’s own name, but, as I am sure you are well aware, I have a great nephew named Harry of whom I am quite fond. He and dear Nora are rather obsessed with Peary’s exploration of the North Pole, but we each have our fixations.

This brings me to the crux of your question. Indeed discovering the fountain was my lifelong dream. Yet when I finally put the pieces together, I was not filled with satisfaction. Rather, I was overwhelmed with dread. It seems I suffered from myopia in my quest, and did not consider all of the ramifications of my discovery. What would the world do if it knew of the Fountain of Youth? For that matter, what would my nephew, who seeks nothing but personal fortune, do? Can you imagine? Never fear. I took the necessary precautions to guard my discovery. The secret is safe with young Nora.

Continue in your studies, young sir. A lively mind is the greatest gift.

Yours in admiration,

Doctor Orlando Appledore

Thank you to librarian Hannah Mermelstein of Saint Ann’s school in Brooklyn Heights. Harry developed his question as part of a Mock Newbery activity in which students wrote postcards to or from characters in the books they read. I am quite honored that Harry chose to write to Orlando: Thank you, Harry!

A Postcard to Orlando Appledore

2 thoughts on “A Postcard to Orlando Appledore

  • April 20, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Dear Megan,
    Is the fountain of youth in your book, in Mane? I was curious and looked it up and it said it was in Florida. Where the names real or was the only thing that was nonfiction is that there is a controversy on who found the north pole first, Cook or Peary. Do you have a clue to who did discover it first? I am inspired by your book and I am doing a report in Language arts about the story, I hope you don’t mind. I am so glad that your book is becoming a nomine. You and deserve it. Are you going to write a second book, it could be small, but please do. You could tell the tale of what the kids will grow up to do, what grade they get on the project, if Ephraim still believes and if he moves. I would be so glad if you write another book.
    A dedicated reader

  • April 22, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Hi Kate,

    Thank you for your question and the obvious care you took in researching before you wrote to me. Ponce de Leon believed that the Fountain of Youth was in Florida, but he never found it. People have continued looking for it for centuries. I had the idea to put it in the book when I was visiting the Poland Spring Water company, which was in the town where I lived when I wrote the book. All the early advertisements talked about how it was magical water, and I wondered, “What if it actually were?” You can read a lot more about that history here:

    The story is fiction, but I did include some real people and places in the story. Here are some of them:

    Right now I don’t plan to write another book about the characters in The Water Castle. When I hear from kids who have read it, they always have great ideas. I encourage you to write your own story about what you think would happen next. It’s a great way to practice your writing.

    Thanks for writing to me!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *