Have you ever found something washed up on the seashore and wondered where it came from? All the things it must have seen on its way through the vast ocean and onto the beach? 
This week, a story in the news caught my eye: when a man and his wife were beachcombing in Alaska, they came upon a soccer ball. At first glance, there’s not much out of the ordinary about a soccer ball on a beach. But in this case, they looked closer and found that it was from Japan. After the devastating tsunami that shook the island nation in 2011, the ball traversed the Pacific Ocean over the course of the year and landed an entire continent away.
You can read all of the details of the story here courtesy of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Under very different circumstances, a very similar exchange is depicted in our Fall 2010 book, Immi’s Gift.
All the way up north in a snow-covered frozen world, Immi breaks a hole in the ice and fishes for her supper. But instead of a fish, at the end of the line is a small, brightly painted wooden bird. She ties it onto her necklace, next to a small wooden bear.

Day after day her fishing pole brings up more colorful surprises from the swirling sea under the frozen ice. She decorates her igloo with the beautiful treasures, and animals come from far and wide to visit with her and share stories of faraway lands. When it is time to move on, she visits the fishing hole one more time and drops the little bear from her necklace into the water.
Faraway, a young boy walks along a beach in the hot, hot sun. He throws a colorful object into the water. Then something catches his eye. There washed up on the beach is a small wooden bear…

What a universal thing it is, to wonder about other people in other places! What are they doing right now? What do they do that is different from us? I remember having pen pals in other countries as a student. We exchanged letters, photos and anything else to share a little bit of our world with theirs and vice versa. 
Have you ever had a pen pal or found a message in a bottle? Do you wonder about our friends on the other side of the world? Tell us about it and be entered for a chance to win a copy of Immi’s Gift
I’ll pick a winner at random on Thursday, April 26 — leave a comment here or via twitter to @PeachtreePub!
*Contest ends Wednesday April 25, 11:59 p.m.