Dear Banned Author. . .

This year for Banned Books Week, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country are hosting a letter-writing campaign called Dear Banned Author. The campaign encourages readers to write to our favorite banned or challenged authors to share the impact their stories have had.

The goal of the Dear Banned Author campaign is not only to raise awareness of the books threatened with censorship, but also to support authors, and to encourage discussion about the the power of words and the importance of access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Speaking out for banned and challenged books is an important part of protecting free speech and fighting censorship.

Here are just a few books that have been banned or challenged over the years:

  • Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chobsky

  • Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume

  • The Giver, Lois Lowry

  • The Color Purple, Alice Walker

  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

  • Fahrenheit 561, Ray Bradbury

  • The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

  • Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Whether books discuss tough or sensitive topics like sexuality, race, discrimination, or simply depict more complicated realities about which some people may feel uncomfortable, it’s important to remember that access to books, knowledge, and the worlds inside them isn’t something that should be censored—everyone should be able to read books and develop opinions about them for their own, individual selves

What banned books have you read, and how have they impacted you? Use the #DearBannedAuthor hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to share your banned book stories with us!

Banned Books Week takes place September 23-29, 2018.