A little boy with big dreams pledges to write letters to every country in the world

Isabella Robinson

Toby Little is a young boy who had a big dream and embarked on an unusual quest at just five years old – to write letters to every country in the world.

The now eight-year-old from the UK wanted to open his eyes about different countries, broaden his horizons and imagination while making new friends without visiting the places himself.

He has had a busy few years putting pen to paper, writing just over 700 letters. And the number of new penpals has been plentiful, with Toby receiving 318 responses so far.

The eight-year-old has penned more than 700 letters. Source: Facebook.
The eight-year-old has penned more than 700 letters. Source: Facebook.

"I wanted to find out more about the world, help people understand each other better, and make the world a better place - and I still do!" Toby wrote on his website.

Toby's mother Sabine says the book A Letter to New Zealand sparked Toby's interest to reach out to other people around the world.

Toby has received more than 300 responses from people around the world. Source: Facebook.
Toby has received more than 300 responses from people around the world. Source: Facebook.

"A boy writes a letter, it goes in the post box, in a van, to a sorting office, on a plane, to a sorting office, in a van, to a postman, to a little boy... in New Zealand," Toby's mother wrote.

"This book sparked the question: "Mummy, can I write a letter to New Zealand?" Cue Mummy racking her brain to think of potential contacts. My response: "Yeeeah, I think so............", which was immediately followed by Toby saying: "Can I write a letter to the whole world?"

His mother said with a holiday break approaching she thought they should give it a go, but at first she thought her son would lose interest quickly. Toby proved her wrong.

Toby decided he wanted to find out lots about the world and began writing letters at just five-years-old. Source: Facebook.
Toby decided he wanted to find out lots about the world and began writing letters at just five-years-old. Source: Facebook.
Toby began his quest to write to every country when he was just five-years-old. Source: Facebook.
Toby began his quest to write to every country when he was just five-years-old. Source: Facebook.

The inquisitive young boy has many questions for the recipients of his letters and is curious to find out about a number of topics.

Toby said: "I'm interested in fossils, archaeology, explorers, history, stars and planets, science, wild creatures, film making, writing, reading, books, dancing, and how people help other people and protect the environment in lots of places all over the world!"

This letter was penned by Toby when he wanted the answer to a very specific question about Lego. Source: Facebook.
This letter was penned by Toby when he wanted the answer to a very specific question about Lego. Source: Facebook.

"I also want to know how people live, and what food they eat, and what school is like!"

The task has also opened his eyes to the struggles some people face around the world.

This letter was posted from Brazil and included a card with Australian aboriginal art. Source: Facebook.
This letter was posted from Brazil and included a card with Australian aboriginal art. Source: Facebook.

"Many people can't even buy a stamp, they can't even buy food! So, in a lot of countries, I'm writing to people who are there to help, like disaster specialists, and people who work for charities," Toby Little wrote online on his JustGiving fundraising page.

The eight-year-old is raising money to send special boxes, known as a ShelterBox to people in need.

Toby is now raising money for the charity ShelterBox. Source: Facebook.
Toby is now raising money for the charity ShelterBox. Source: Facebook.

"A ShelterBox has lots of things in it to help a family, like a tent and tools, and things to make the water clean, and even toys for children," Toby said.

Sabine says while it was never their intention to raise money, they are using the popularity of Toby's actions to help others.

"A friend suggested that Toby might get sponsored for writing the letters, and we went in search for a charity," Sabine said.

The book
The book

The young boy's correspondence has also been turned into a book Dear World, How Are You?, which includes the "most fascinating and heart-warming letters he sent and received".

"It shows that the world is only as big as your imagination and is full of potential friends, waiting to be discovered, no matter where you live," said the book's publishers, Penguin.

Toby is still waiting for responses from some countries. A full list of those can be found on his website, Writing to the World.

News break – March 16