With challenges to books at an all-time high, library staff, educators, and authors may be confronted with stressful and disheartening situations. Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship, but we also need to let our trusted librarians, teachers, and the authors of challenged and banned books know that we support them.
Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign that encourages readers to write, tweet, or email banned or challenged authors during Banned Books Week and beyond to share 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.
The print and digital postcards provided for Dear Banned Author can also be used to let library staff and educators know that you value their work and support them.
Select a postcard image to open a print-ready PDF.
Social Media Postcards
Attach one of these images when you send your messages of support to banned or challenged authors on social media. Use the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor with your messages.
Use email to send digital support to library workers, educators, and challenged and banned authors. Canva offers hundreds of images, fonts, and elements that you can use to create a custom e-card. Save your design as a PDF or an image file (JPG or PNG). Once you’ve written a message of support to the recipient, embed or attach the e-card to your email.
Print on Demand 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! And you can also use your own photos: take a pic with a banned book, reading, or at the library.
If you would like to print your own postcard in bulk for an in-person event, Canva has dozens of customizable postcard templates. Free economy shipping takes 5-8 days.
In-Person Letter Writing Program Tips
- 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.
Virtual Letter Writing Program Tips
- 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.
Social Media Tips
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