Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign that encourages readers to write, tweet, or email banned or challenged authors during Banned Books Week (October 1 - 7, 2023), sharing what their stories mean to them.
Hosted by the American Library Association, Dear Banned Author raises awareness of censorship while supporting the power of words and those who write them. Authors have also shared fan letters as support when there's a public challenge to their books.
Ways to Participate
- Write a letter or email to a banned and challenged author, sharing how their words have impacted you.
- Host a letter-writing program at your library or school, bringing writing supplies and a list of author addresses. Use these Tips for Hosting Programs.
- Reach out to a favorite banned or challenged author by tagging them on Twitter and including #DearBannedAuthor. Use these Tips for Tweeting and Tweetable Postcards.
Select a postcard image to open a print-ready PDF.
Attach one of the below postcard images when you tweet to your favorite banned or challenged author using the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor. Explore banned author Twitter handles, tips for tweeting, and examples of shared letters.
Easily send a postcard to an author’s email address. Canva offers hundreds of images, fonts, and elements to capture the attention and show your appreciation to your favorite banned author. Once you’ve written a message to the author, save your design as a PDF or an image file and attach it to an email.
Create Your Own Postcards
Platforms like Felt allow you to customize and send individual postcards — straight to the banned author. Felt takes care of the printing and stamps. You can even use your own handwriting!
Tips for Hosting an In-Person Program
- Print out postcards or letterhead, as well as multiple copies of Banned and Challenged Author Addresses.
- Provide non-messy snacks like pretzels or popcorn.
- Provide a wide variety of writing instruments with fun choices for color and ink type. Include Wite-out and stamps.
- Have resources for dictionaries, thesauruses, and writing or grammar guides available.
- Create a playlist for background music to set the tone of your event (for example, soothing classical or scores from books that have been made into movies).
- Create tabletop prompts for inspiration.
- For extra fun, purchase a toy mailbox for readers to “send” their postcards and letters. Melissa & Doug have a few varieties.
Tips for Hosting a Virtual Program
- Design the program like a letter-writing workshop. Share tidbits about the post office, the history of the mailman, the elements of a letter, or the essentials of grammar. Invite a calligrapher for a demonstration, or a local historian to highlight letters sent from community members.
- Instead of hosting a program, add the postcard writing as an addition to your book club meetings or virtual storytimes.
- In addition to the virtual program, create a take-and-make component with printed postcards, pens, pencils, inspirational quotes about letter-writing.
Tips for Tweeting
When tweeting to a banned or challenged author, or posting about it online, consider:
- Including the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor. This allows the American Library Association to find and share your stories.
- Discussing how the book impacted your life, made you feel, or your favorite quotes
- Posting a photo of you reading the book or of your postcard
- Blurring or covering up your own address or private information before sharing pictures of postcards
Find additional Banned Books Week images on the Free Downloads webpage.
|Dear Banned Author logo: PDF and JPG|