Banned Books - What To Do If Your Book Gets Banned

If your book gets banned, know that you are not alone. There has been a sharp rise in banned books in the US since the pandemic. My book SCARS has repeatedly and increasingly been banned in the past few years–and teens need our books. There are many organizations that can help.

Authors Against Book Bans: Whether your book has been banned or you just want to stand for the freedom to read, I hope you’ll consider joining and reaching out to Authors Against Book Bans. They offer information that can help and ways to get involved, including signing letters. They have an email newsletter, and are most active on Instagram

PENAmerica is another really important and helpful resource. You can report your book being banned to them. They often have monthly Zoom meetings that give info about book ban stats and can also help with some support and encouragement and connecting us to other resources.

See also  PENAmerica’s Take section against book banning. Read Read PENAmerica’s index of school book bans for 2022-23 and PENAmerica’s 2022 report on the increase of banned books in schools.

In addition to our books being banned, many of us authors also receive online harassment, especially if we are or write about being queer, Black, brown, or Indigenous, mental health, and survivors, and PEN’s Online Harassment Field Manual can help.

Join, read their Action Kit, National Coalition Against Censorship’s (NCAC) Book Censorship Action Kit, and read PENAmerica’s 2022 report on the increasing book bans.

Report Book Censorship
If a book’s been challenged at your US library or school, you can report censorship to PENAmericaAmerican Library Association (ALA), National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and for colleges and universities to Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

In Canada, report a book that’s been challenged to Freedom To Read.

Get inspired by other authors who’ve had their books banned: Authors Speak Out On Censorship 

Including Authors Speak Loudly, Judy Blume, Sherman Alexie, Chris CrutcherNancy GardenSonya Sones, and more. Compiled by NCTE.


Banned Books Week (US September 27-Oct 3)
People should always be able to find reflections of themselves in books, and know that they’re not alone. This site has some great articles, downloadable/printable infographics, publications, librarian and educator resources,  writer resources, and student resources, lists of banned books and plays, links on where to report censorship, promotional tools, events, and more.

Freedom To Read Week (Canada, February)

Download free clipart and banners, read articles and interviews,  download the digital Freedom To Read kit or order a physical copy which contains a poster, current censorship issues in Canada, news articles, interviews with champions of free speech, and a Get Involved section with activities designed for classroom instruction and discussion, or download clipart and banners. You can also go to the database of challenged books in Canada or download the PDF.


Judy Blume Talks About Censorship
Judy Blume writers about her own experience with censorship, and how book banning stems from fear. She also has a great article on what students, teachers, and writers can do if a book is challenged, offers a toolkit on what to do if a book is challenged, and more.

Speak Loudly: ALAN
You can find resources on challenges in schools, libraries, and communities; preparing for and responding to a challenge; class and library resources; research on censorship; and more.

Laurie Halse Anderson on Censorship.

Laurie Halse Anderson includes the powerful letter that she wrote to the committee when her book TWISTED was challenged, as well as  information on her book SPEAK being challenged, resources to turn to if you experience a book challenge, article Weighing In by Pat Scales on why rating books is dangerous, and many resources on book banning.

Speak Author Talks Resistance Lit. Laurie Halse Anderson talks to Bustle about her experience with censorship of her own books, how books can prepare kids for the real world, how censorship comes from fear, and more.

Freedom To Read Foundation
The FTR works against censorship, and offers grants, scholarships, and awards; works on legal cases; and educates about the importance of libraries.

Lauren Myracle On Why Her Books Top List That America Wants Banned

Article in the Daily Beast by Lauren Myracle. Must be a member to read it.

Book Challenges Suppress Diversity by Malinda Lo
A great article by YAlit author Malinda Lo, showing that diverse books are disproportionately targeted for book challenges and censorship–and that often the reasons listed for the challenges hide the real reasons people make those challenges, such as homophobia, racism, etc.

10 Reasons Books Are Challenged And Banned by Betsy Gomez, Banned Books Week
If you’ve ever read about a book being challenged, it probably won’t surprise you that most books are challenged for being queer, Black, brown, and Indigenous, mental health, and survivor voices. 

YA Book News at BookStacked
A good source for news about books to film; what’s happening in the YA book community; new book releases and editions; and more. Also find reviews.

Young Adult Books @ HuffPost
Lots of great articles covering many topics on YA books, from sensitivity readers to a fantasy novel with a queer black protagonist to book censorship, as well as booklists, author interviews, and more. Well worth checking out!

The Purple Crayon
A very informative with lots of useful articles about writing and editing children’s fiction, from a children’s editor. Also includes wonderful articles from Laura Belgrave’s website “Slush Pile”, which is no longer up.

To Market by Susan Salzman Raab
The To Market column online — a column for children’s writers and illustrators interested in publicizing and marketing their work. A LOT here.

Aaron Shepherd’s Kidwriter Page
Some article and tips on how to write and promote children’s books by Aaron Shepherd, children’s writer.

The Horn Book
The Horn Book online features articles, reviews, and profiles of children’s books  and authors from the print version. The magazine is a respected source for reviews of children’s fiction and info about the world of children’s publishing.

Children’s Publishers’ Submission Guidelines Online
Finally, a site that has information about submitting to children’s publishers!

Cynthia Leitich Smith: Writer Resources
Lots of articles and information here for children’s and YA writers and illustrators.
The Children’s Writing Supersite with a ton of articles on their blog to help writers.

Writing Technique

Paid Writing Technique Courses:

Holly Lisle’s Writing Courses
Holly Lisle offers a lot of down-to-earth, detailed writing technique that is truly helpful, including her FREE class Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t SUCK, her very affordable ($9.99) and helpful classes Create A Character Clinic; Create A Plot Clinic; Write Page-Turning Scenes; 21 Ways To Get Yourself Writing When Your Life Has Just Exploded ($14); 7-Day Crash Revision Workshop ($37); her bigger courses which range from $77-97 including Write Dialogue With Subtext; 24-hour intensive Find Your Writing Voice; How to Write Villains.

If you’re really serious about learning writing technique and are willing to immerse yourself in learning, consider her gigantic, very detailed courses such as How To Revise Your Novel; How To Think Sideways; and How To Write A Series.

Mary Buckham’s Writing Technique Books & Classes
I highly recommend Mary Buckham’s books and classes. I’ve learned so much from her clear, easy-to-understand, insightful writing technique books including her writing active setting books Characterization and Sensory Detail; Emotion, Conflict, and Backstory; Anchoring Action As A Character) and her Writing Active Hooks: The Complete How-to Guide. You can also find her online classes, courses, and webinars here. She is one of my favorite, go-to writing technique teachers.

Beth Revis’ Books & Courses
NYT bestselling YA author Beth Revis has a series of books for writers including Paper  Hearts 1: Some Writing Advice; Paper Hearts 3: Some Marketing Advice. She also gives writing workshops several times a year, has a $9.99 Udemy course 25 Questions To Ask When You Write Your Novel, and answers some writing questions for free on her Instagram account.

Free Writing Technique Articles:

Helping Writers Become Authors by K.M. Weiland
Novelist and writing instructor K.M. Weiland offers SO much for free on her site – including how to outline your novel, write character arcs, structure scenes, and SO much more. Really detailed, helpful advice here.

The Creative Penn
Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn offers SO much free information for writers, from how to writer your novel or non-fiction book, to getting it published, to promoting it. There is so much here to learn from.

Alicia Rasley’s Craft Articles
Alicia has some helpful, insightful articles about how to write, including Sneaky Plotting Problems.

Writing Advice from Caro Clarke
A series of 18 articles on writing technique and advice that Caro Clarke wrote, and that were featured in the online writer’s newsletter Novel Advice.

Write A Novel: Free Online mini writing course by Crawford Kilian
A free mini course of 19 articles written by Crawford Kilian that cover topics as Effective Writing Habits, Elements Of A Successful Story, Style: Checklist For Fiction Writers, Symbolism and all that, Writing A Query Letter About Your Novel, Reading a Contract, and more. Worth checking out.

Fiction Writing Advice

101 Of The Best Fiction-Writing Tips, Part 1
There is so much I love here–including the links to the articles that each tip came from. The article is full of great advice, including be selective about what you include in your story; calling characters by their proper names in dialogue can sound phoney; use simple words instead of deliberately choosing big words; try to use all five senses when writing your book; and SO much more.

10 Minute Novelists: A Community For Time-Crunched Writers
Short writing craft articles and prompts in doable mini chunks.

Writing Advice: Tips For New Fiction Writers @ HuffPost
Some good tips here, including learn the art of conflict; revise your story; and create real characters.

42 Fiction Writing Tips For Novelists
There are many tips I love here, including don’t write for the market-write the story in your heart; read more fiction than you write; find the flaw in both your hero and villain; and more.

Advice on (US) grammar and usage in an engaging, easy-to-understand style.

Books On Writing Technique

My Favorite Fiction Writing Books via Randy Ingermanson
I love most every writing technique book that Randy recommended here. He also teaches writing technique himself and is a novelist. I loved the books of his I’ve read.

Best Books On Writing Fiction via ProWritingAid
This list recommends some books I love (and some I don’t), including some of my top favorites  Story Genius by Lisa Cron; Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and David King; Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass; and more. As always with any creative skill it’s important to figure out what works best for you.

Recommended Books on Writing and Illustrating for Children
An extensive list of recommended books for children’s authors. The list is divided into helpful sections, including books on writing for all ages. Well worth browsing!

Naming Your Character

Search baby names by meaning, sex or unisex, origin, starts with, ends with, and more. Useful site.

Character Name Generator
You can pick the country you want your character to originate from, and they generate five names for you with meanings. You can do this again and again until you find some names you like.

Character Name Generator UK
This name generator asks you to answer questions (you can choose which ones) which help narrow the type of name you’re looking for for your character, including leader, virtuous, evil; their nationality and their parents’ nationality; whether they’re royalty, a professor, police, or regular person; and much more.

International Names List: Popular Names From Around The World via BabyName Wizard
This can be helpful when you have characters from various countries and areas within those countries. the etymology and history of first names
Another extensive site that allows you to find the meaning of the name. This site will also give you the history of a name. There aren’t as many results as from the site above, but the history of a name can be interesting.

Newsletters For Writers

Jane Friedman’s Electric Speed
Jane Friedman’s free bi-weekly newsletter for authors is filled with useful information and links on digital media tools and resources for writers. You can browse her past issues online. You can also sign up for daily or weekly newsletters for the full text of her blog posts.

Helping Writers Become Authors by K.M. Weiland
You can sign up for both novelist and writing instructor K.M. Weiland’s newsletter and her blog posts by email. Lots of great advice and resources.

The Creative Penn Podcast
Sign up for her podcast for interviews, inspiration, and information on writing and creativity, publishing, and book marketing.

Writer’s Digest Newsletter
Free weekly writing advice newsletter from Writer’s Digest, a popular print and digital writing technique magazine. By signing up you also get access to their 101 Best Websites For Writers as a PDF.

John Kremer’s Book Marketing Tips
A short set of book marketing tips that comes to your mailbox every week, by the author of 1001 Ways to Market your book. Click on the link on the left to join up.

Writers’ Daily Quote Archive
Not a newsletter, and the emails are no longer being sent, but if you like quotes from authors, check out this extensive archive.

Book Promotion

The CreativePenn
Joanna Penn offers lots of advice on book marketing, including how to create your author website through WordPress (which is a lot easier than it sounds. Though I personally recommend using the free plugin Elementor, or upgrading to Elementor Pro, which makes everything SO much easier, drag and drop style.)

How To Sell Books 2019: David Gaughran
David Gaughran offers a lot of useful book promotion advice not only on this page but also his blog posts.

Publicity Hound: Joan Stewart
Joan Stewart offers a twice-weekly ezine on tips, tricks, and tools for free publicity and also has a blog.

Author Marketing Experts: Penny Sansevieri
Penny offers a ton of useful book promotion advice on her blog and her monthly newsletter, as well as her useful Book Launch Cheat Sheet.

John Kremer’s Tips On Book Marketing
There is SO much here – so many articles, links, and information to browse through. I’m not sure if it’s being updated any more but there’s still much to learn from.

Fun For Writers


A site where you can read and submit non-words (words people think should be words, or words that should be in the dictionary). Try out their randomizer on the right.

Horoscopes for Writers
Check out this 4-season horoscope column just for writers. (Just use the search for “horoscope” and you’ll find the most recent one.) Also check out The 12 Best Writing Tips & Tricks, Based On Your Zodiac Sign. Just for fun!

Just 16 Damn Funny Tweets About Being A Writer
There’s sure to be a tweet here you identify with.

Funny Signs
Some of these signs spotted are very funny. Signs such as: “Invincible Moose Next 5 km”, and “Dear Lord is it time to impeach? Give us a sign. Blot out the sun.” And “Not a door.”

Humor for Writers at Absolute Write
Check out the jokes for writers, and the humor columns about writing. Some are funnier than others.

Writing Humor on Pinterest
There are lots of funny writing humor quotes and images on Pinterest via Northern Colorado Writers.

On Rejection

Dealing With Rejection by Ellen Jackson
An encouraging article with some truths that are important to remember–such as success as as a writer depends on persistence; if your manuscript is rejected, it might not have anything to do with how good it is; and view specific criticism as a gift (although keep your judgement about whether to listen to it or not).

How To Handle Rejection: 6 Ways Authors Can Cope And Grow
This helpful article has suggestions such as letting yourself feel disappointed; have another project going; try to get rejected; and more.

6 Famous Authors Who Once Faced Rejection
Take heart; you’re not alone! (I think most authors face rejection at some point.) This list includes J.K. Rowling,  Dr. Seuss, Steven King, and more.

20 Brilliant Authors Whose Work Was Initially Rejected
I think it helps to see examples of famous authors whose work was rejected. If you’re going through rejections, don’t give up!

Dealing With Rejection by Alex Keegan
A good article on rejection at Writers Write.

Writing for Children: Rejection Letters by Bethany Roberts
Includes a few lines about famous children’s authors whose work was rejected, and figuring out what an editor’s really saying in their rejection letter.

Dealing With Rejection by Ellen Jackson
Ellen Jackson talks about rejection and success.

Some Tips for Dealing With Rejection by Laraine Anne Barker
More tips on dealing with rejection.

Rejection is a drag
from Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s blog, Pen on Fire.

Rejection Slips: A Balm for Writers and as Certain as Death
Some good advice and reminders here, including: “Rejection slips! Hah! Just consider the editor nuts and send the work back out. And don’t consider revising anything until it’s had at least six negative responses.”

Ages of Authors When They First Publish A Bestseller
This might make you feel better – the average age a writer publishes their first NYT bestseller is 48. (Found via Jane Freidman’s Electric Speed newsletter, which is a good resource for writers)

Quotes About Writing

Quotes from writers on InkThink
Quotes on writing, by writers.

18 Motivational Quotes To Bring Out The Writer In You
Quotes to get you writing.

Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers
Some you’ll agree with, some you won’t, but there is wisdom here.

72 of the Best Quotes About Writing on Writer’s Digest
Lots of great quotes here, many inspiring, with good advice, or food for thought.

Getting Published

Start Here: How To Get Your Book Published by Jane Friedman
Jane Friedman offers a lot of helpful advice, including figuring out your genre, whether you want a traditional publisher or to self-publish, how to write a query letter, the importance of attending writing workshops, and more.

How To Get A Book Published: Your Guide In 2019
Some good advice here, and distinctions between traditional publishing, self-publishing, and a warning about vanity publishing.

10 Steps To Getting Published
Some good advice on getting published, including edit your manuscript, read it aloud, and submit carefully (research).

Gifts For Writers

Gifts From The Literary Gift Company
SO many amazing bookish gifts here, including literary jewelry (with adorable book earrings, pins, necklaces, and bracelets); literary candles; bookish zipped pouches, purses, and wallets; bookends; bookish pencils and pens; reading accessories; books about books; bookish jigsaw puzzles; and so much more. If I had a ton of money I would buy so many things here!

Amber Clip-On Reading Light by Hooga
This amber reading light is blue-light blocking to encourage better sleep and reduce eye strain. It’s also lightweight, portable, and has a strong grip. And it’s only $14.95.

Out Of Print
Out of Print has some fantastic writerly and bookish items, including banned book socks; bookish pins (including an Ernie & Bert reading, narwhal book, when in doubt go to the library, read banned books); mugs and coasters (including banned books); book totes; matchbook mini “books”; clothing, and more!

Writing Bracelets
including “I’d rather by writing;” “careful or you’ll end up in my novel;” “word warrior;” a colorful  enamel mini book cuff bracelet; a flower-and-butterfly Little Women large cuff bracelet.

Enamel Book Pins
including Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards; Read Banned Books; composition notebook and pencil set; When in doubt get to the library; rainbow library card; library card and stamp; typewriter and coffee/tea pins;  a cat on an open book; and more, all from Out Of Print and sold on Amazon.

Bookish Socks
including banned books; book nerd; library card; rainbow library card; typewriter; sloth with a book; 2B pencil; Good friends, good books Mark Twain quote; and more.

Doorknob Hangers, Signs, Posters, & Bumper Stickers
Do Not Disturb, Writer At Work doorknob hanger; Warning: Novelist At Work, Bystanders May Be Written Into The Story sign; “I’m a writer. Anything you say or do may be used in a story” bumper sticker; “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself” poster; “Everyone is a reader, some just haven’t found their favorite book yet” poster; The Writing Manifesto poster; African-American Writers posters (set of 16); Children’s Literature inspiration quotes posters (set of 9).

NovelTea offers beautifully crafted book tins with gorgeous covers; bookish tea blends with clever names based on popular novels including Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, Alice In Wonderland, Oliver Twist, etc.; teaware including bookish mugs, tea towels, and bookmarks; and even custom tea blends (for orders from hundreds to thousands).

Lighted Tip Pen
for those writerly notes at night. You’d be surprised how many writers need to jot something down just as they go to sleep, or in the middle of the night!

Typewriter Pen & Pencil Holder
A mini typewriter that holds pens and pencils. Useful, yet writerly and fun.

Typewriter Keyboard
A keyboard that looks like the keys of a typewriter. This is stylish and fun (and expensive).

Ergonomic Keyboard
Since writers are typing  a lot when they work, writers are at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. A good ergonomic keyboard can make all the difference (though it can be a very personal choice). I’ve found that raised, split keyboards give me the best support. Many have great reviews. Try Perixx Periboard-512 Ergonomic Split Keyboard ($32.99). My personal favorite, the one that helped me reverse carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, is Kinesis Advantage 2 though at $319 it is expensive, but you can often find them used on eBay. I also like Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 ($33.19 renewed).

Portable, Folding Ergonomic Keyboards
For the writer on the go who wants to protect their hands and write longer. This is something I wanted for years that has only recently come on the market. Try Jelly Comb folding ergonomic keyboard $25.99) or  iClever folding ergonomic keyboard ($32.99).

Writer Emergency Pack
A deck of cards with 26 illustrated idea cards and
26 detail cards with helpful suggestions and specific tips.

Subscriptions to Writers’ Magazines
which give your favorite writer inspiration, resources, writing technique help, and more all year round such as Writer’s Digest (print and digital subscriptions available, US based); The Writer magazine; Poets & Writers magazine; Writers’ Forum magazine; Writing Magazine (UK based but has world info, too).

Writerly Keychains
including “I’m a writer. I create universes” with a mini pen symbol; “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel;” “And I will write 500 words, and I will write 500 more!

BestSelf Wordsmith Deck
A deck of 100 writing prompts designed to inspire journaling, cure writer’s block, cultivate creative writing and sharpen writing skills.

Scribbler Subscription Box
The only subscription box just for novelists created by bestselling authors. Each box contains curated writerly gifts, a new release novel, an inside look at the publishing process, an exclusive chat with a publishing professional, and a mini writing booklet from a bestselling author teaching you how to master a  writing topic. $29 US (more to ship to Canada or other countries).

YA Book Subscription Boxes (for YA readers and YA writers)
There are a TON of them. Check out some of the best subscription boxes through CrateJoy.

Storiarts sells literary fingerless writing gloves, book totes, book scarves, and t-shirts, all with excerpts from popular books (and poems) including Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Still I Rise, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Guess How Much I Love You, and more. All gifts also help fight illiteracy worldwide.

Litographs: Temporary Literary Tattoos
Temporary literary tattoos by Litographs, including from The Little Prince; Sherlock Holmes; Jane Eyre; and more. They also offer bookish T-shirts, scarves, totes, and more.

Magnetic Poetry
This company has a lot of fun and creative little themed boxes of magnet words that you can make into mini poems, stories, or even story starters on your fridge or magnetic surface, including Booklover Edition; The Poet Edition; and smaller ones such as the Happiness Box.

Bookish Jewelry on Etsy
There is a ton of great bookish jewelry on Etsy. Just go to Etsy and type in “bookish jewelry” and you will find lots of great products.

Writers Helping Writers book series
Including The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character ExpressionThe Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma; The Rural Setting Thesaurus; The Urban Setting Thesaurus; and more.

The Storymatic Classic
This can be used as a game and a story prompter, with  540 Unique Cards. It includes a booklet with prompts, games, and activities.

Reader & Book Lover Sculptures
Willow Tree Wisdom. A hand-sculpted girl reading a book. ($21.95); Willow Tree Love Of Learning. A hand-sculpted girl holding an open book to her chest. ($21.95); Thoughtful Reader: Brown wood sculpture of seated reader with white book. NOVICA fair trade product in association with National Geographic; Fairy reading an open book; Top Collection Rex The Green Dragon: The Aspiring Writer ($15.99); Top Collection Mini Dragon Reading Figurine ($15.79); Fascinations Metal Earth Book Sculptures. 3D Metal Model Kits of Moby Dick & The Old Man and The Sea – Set of 2. You put them together. ($22.95); Amy Brown’s Book Green Scholar Dragon ($35.99); Amy Brown’s Book Wyrm (book dragon) ($35.99); Veronese Design Lost Books Mermaid Sculpture ($58); Top Collection Miniature Garden Elephant Reading Book ($16); Book Lover Woman Reading on Ledge Hand-painted Sculpture Figurine. ($17.95); and Book Lover Man Reading on Ledge. Hand-painted sculpture. ($17.95).

Bookstore Gift Cards
Don’t forget bookstore gift cards – especially to indie bookstores, but also online and bigger chain bookstores, for the favorite writer in your life. They are some of the most fun you can get a writer or reader.

Grants & Scholarships

Canada Council for the Arts has some of the best grants available for Canadian authors, including Explore and Create, and Engage and Sustain

Ontario Arts Council has many grants for Ontario based Canadian authors.

Toronto Arts Council also has a good grant for Toronto authors. 

Writers’ Trust of Canada has multiple grants for Canadian writers, including Writers’ Trust Rising Stars, Woodcock Fund Grant for emergency funding; and DC Reid Poet’s Grant

 Reedsy Writing Scholarships Directory: a comprehensive list of 100+ scholarships available for writers, including their own Reedsy scholarship for our How to Write a Novel master class.



Children's And YA Authors Organizations

SCBWI is one of the largest children’s authors and illustrators organizations, with chapters in the US, Canada, and international. They host fantastic conferences on craft where you can learn and network, have a newsletter, and more.

Canadian YA and Children’s authors and illustrators. They host a conference, have monthly meetings, a newsletter, and more.

Resources For Writers
You can find many more organizations for all sorts of writers and genres here.