Authors Share Readers' Letters to Show Impact of Books

A Twitter campaign organized by #FReadom prompted authors—including Cynthia Leitich Smith, Laurie Halse Anderson, Alex Gino, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and others—to share the heartfelt messages they have received from young people who connected with their books.

Children's authors know the impact and value of their work. 

"We're all sitting on letters and messages from readers," says Kelly Yang, author of the "Front Desk" series. "We have the evidence that these books are so important."

In late November, Yang tweeted a letter she received.

On social media, librarians and their fellow educators often share the importance of books for their students, especially titles by and about historically marginalized communities and those books that illuminate difficult topics.

On Friday, December 3, #FReadom—a group highlighting the work of school librarians, providing resources for book challenges, and organizing Twitter campaigns for awareness of and fighting back against current book challenges—asked the authors to share letters from readers that show the impact of their work. The kid lit creators responded.

Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Hearts Unbroken, tweeted this response from a reader of the novel: "From a Chickasaw teen: 'This is the FIRST TIME I've EVER read a book that GETS what it's like to be me. I'm going to make copies of some pages to give to people at school like, hey, you read this—I've had it!' (Character is Muscogee, but there are daily-life parallels.) #FReadom"

Read: SLJ's censorship coverage

When Aidan Became a Brother author Kyle Lukoff tweeted, "During a school visit a trans high school senior told me he'd 'never seen a successful trans adult before.' Now I'm being disinvited to schools because they're 'not ready for the conversation.'"

Author Alex London offered a statistic before posting a reader's note to their librarian: LGBTQ youth who report having at least 1 accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt the past year. Diverse school & library reading can save lives. #txlege #FReadom A librarian shared this reader response:
 
Scroll through the slideshow below to see more letters that authors have received from young readers.
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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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