There are a lot of different activities that you could take part in during this year’s Banned Books Week. Probably the most popular activity is to read a book that has been banned or challenged, which is something I definitely recommend (and not just during Banned Books Week). You could also attend a virtual event, create your own virtual read-out video, or take some time to discuss censorship on your preferred social media platform.
One of the coolest activities that is currently taking place is the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign, which is being sponsored by the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. This letter-writing campaign lasts for the entirety of Banned Books Week, and is a great opportunity to let the authors of banned and challenged books know how important their work is to you.
This is a great activity for both adults and children, and may be of interest to teachers and school librarians this week. While I don’t necessarily recommend this as an assignment, because not all students will have read books by banned or challenged authors, it could be a fun optional activity for students who have finished their other work in English and/or study hall classes.
Personally, I am really looking forward to participating in this activity this year. I’ve read a significant number of authors whose work has been challenged or banned, and I feel like it’s important for them to hear that their work is loved by readers. The authors I am planning to write to this year include Marjane Satrapi, who wrote Persepolis; Angie Thomas, the author of The Hate U Give; and Jeff Smith, who created the Bone comic book series.
If you’re interested in participating in this campaign, I highly recommend checking out the website for yourself. It provides a tremendous number of resources to help you get started, including printable postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and ideas for how you could host your own in-person or virtual program. (Personally, I suggest hosting a virtual letter-writing program to support social distancing.)
The website also is offering the chance for participants to win some Banned Books Week merchandise through Twitter. You can find out additional details by checking out the Official Rules on the website.
If you decide to write a letter to a banned or challenged author this week, I’d love to hear about your experience. If you’d like to share who you are choosing to write to, feel free to leave a comment on this post.