Author & illustrator postcard pen pals for schools

What is BookPenPals?

BookPenPals pairs UK authors and illustrators with UK schools to make book recommendations once every half term in a postcard. Schools may send a postcard reply in return each time. The pen pal pairings last for one school year.

photo of school children with BookPenPals postcard from Sara Grant
courtesy of @misshath2
photo of Laura Hughes's postcard with a drawing of penguin holding an ice cream cone and a cat on the envelope
courtesy of @Glebelove2read

How it works

Authors and illustrators commit to writing one postcard per half term with a reading recommendation (and occasional writing prompt, advice or drawing tip) to a class over the course of a school year (September to July).

In return, the school may send one postcard in reply each half term with their reactions and comments. (Teachers: please note that as many authors and illustrators take on more than one school as a pen pal, we cannot accommodate multiple replies unless your pen pal makes a special arrangement with you.)

At the end of the school year, the author or illustrator can retire from the programme or switch to a new school.

Schools benefit from discovering a wider range of books than they might otherwise hear about while also being inspired to engage with reading and writing through regular contact with an author/illustrator. In some cases, the relationship may result in an in-person or Skype visit.

Future plans

We are developing a digital version of the programme so that a much larger number of schools can participate. We also hope to offer additional benefits for all registered schools over time. Please do watch the website and follow us on Twitter to hear the latest news (@BookPenPals).

postcards and bookmarks from Tracy Darnton to Kingsway writers
courtesy of @kw_writers

I want to sign up!

For authors and illustrators, please note that at the moment, we can only accept authors and illustrators with industry-recognised publication credentials. Debut authors/illustrators and traditional small presses are welcome.

For teacher accounts, we need the link to the school to be publicly confirmable (i.e. with a Twitter account linking to a school, or the teacher's name on the school website).

Support us

If you’re a publisher, a bookseller, or someone who is interested in supporting us in another way, please email us: