PLEASE NOTE: The sign-up period has now elapsed and no more families are being accepted for the swap

Would you and your family like to take part in an International Postcard Swap and receive some wonderful book recommendations along the way?

The idea is simple – you sign up, you agree to send 5 postcards overseas, including a children’s book recommendation, and in return you will be sent 5 postcards from overseas each containing a children’s book recommendation.

If you would like to take part in the International Postcard Swap for Families here are the nitty gritty details:

1. Sign up for the postcard swap.
The deadline for signing up is Tuesday 17th May.

Email me at zoe (dot) toft (at) kuvik (dot) net to let me know you wish to take part. I will then email you a link to a form where you can fill in the details needed for the swap.

The key details are:
*your name,
*your kids names, ages, sexes (I shall try to match up families with kids of similar ages as best I can)
*your postal address
*and (if you have one and wish to share it) your blog name and address, and your twitter ID

The form you will submit your details to is a Google Docs form. The data will held securely by Google until the signup period closes. I will then delete the form and associated data from Google (although I will retain a copy of the data on my own computer in case of queries). Your data will be held by me only for the duration of the swap and the information you provide will only be used for the purposes of the swap. Your details will not be shared with anyone, other than the 5 families who will be sending you postcards.

2. By Tuesday 24 May at the latest I will email you with the names and addresses of 5 families you will be sending postcards to.
These will not be the same families you will receive post from.

3. Make / write your postcards and please make sure you post them out to your recipients by Tuesday 31 May.

4. Eagerly await the arrival of the postman!
As this is an international swap it may take a few weeks to receive your postcards. It is also a sad fact of life that some postcards may get lost in transit so be prepared for this.

Other questions?
1) Who is this swap open to?
All book loving families. The idea is for families to swap with other families so I anticipate most children taking part to be 0-15 years old. I am willing to try to pair up school classes but please email me separately if you wish to do this, and bear in mind that I cannot guaranteed postcards sent will arrive before any school holidays in June or July.

2) What is the deadline to send the postcards by?
Please have all 5 of your cards in the post by Tuesday 31 May. Please don’t sign up for this swap unless you are happy to write and send 5 cards internationally.

3) What should I write on the message side of my postcard?
It’s up to you but given that we’ll all have “met” via Playing by the book please include a kids’ book recommendation – perhaps something very popular where you live, or one of your kids’ favourites.

If your recipients have blogs you could read a few of their posts and comment on them on your postcard. If your kids are old enough they could write the cards themselves. Please consider including you own address – my experience from last year is that recipients are often keen to send a return postcard to those families who send them a postcard.

Past experience of hosting swaps has taught me that swap families are often very generous. Sometimes families include small gifts and letters as well as postcards. If you would like to do this, please feel free to do so but there is absolutely no obligation to do anything more than send 5 postcards.

Really, it’s up to you what you do, but the idea is to send a little bit of fun, joy and a great book recommendation or two around the world!

4) What size should my postcard be and what should it be made of?
I don’t know the rules and regulations which cover various countries’ postal system so just use your common sense. You do not need to make the postcards you send, but it may be something your children will enjoy doing. If you wish to put your postcard in an envelope that’s fine, but you may incur additional costs.

5) Will I be receiving postcards from the people on my list?
I will set up the swap so that you will not receive postcards from anyone on your list. I thought it would be a nice surprise not knowing from where in the world postcards will be coming to you. I will endeavour to match people up so that you receive postcards from at least 3 different countries (though this will depend on who signs up for the swap), and from families with children of a similar age.

**Special note for US participants** Because of the nature of the blogosphere I anticipate a large number of US participants. In order to keep the swap as international as possible US participants are not guaranteed a place on an international swap – I reserve the right to set up a separate US only swap. If this happens I will endeavour to ensure you swap with US families in different time zones to you. IMPORTANT UPDATE MAY 12 2011: The Swap is now closed to families from the US as we are oversubscribed. My apologies, and thanks for understanding.

6) Can I help spread the word?
Yes please! Obviously this swap will work better the more people from more countries sign up. If you sign up for the swap please find some way to spread the word about this swap! You can direct people to this page:

and you can use this button on your blog:

To get the button you can right-click on it above and save it, or copy the HTML code below:

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

You could email your friends who might be interested, you could tweet about the swap (please use the hashtag #familypostcardswap), post it on your Facebook page, or just tell friends about it over a coffee! The more people know about the swap the better the swap will be for all involved.

6) Anything else?
If you receive any particularly beautiful or interesting postcards please let me know – in July I’d love to write a post about everyone who participated and the postcards and book recommendations which were sent.

Any other questions? Please get in touch – zoe (dot) toft (at) kuvik (dot) net.

PLEASE NOTE: The sign-up period has now elapsed and no more families are being accepted for the swap

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