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Banned Books

A Tennesse school board's recent banning of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, by Art Spiegelman, served as a stark reminder that books are still being banned and challenged today. Thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, booksellers, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read, the majority of banned books have remained available. Below are some of the many books that have been banned or challenged in the past few years.

The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, the organizers of the Banned Book Week, is a great resource on the topic of banned and challenged books. Read more on their website.

"Censorship has nothing to do with protecting children, it has to do with protecting adults who don’t want to have difficult conversations with those children." —Laurie Halse Anderson

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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780394747231
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - August 12th, 1986

Reasons: Contains inappropriate curse words and a depiction of a naked character.


Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780679729778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - September 1st, 1992

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The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story Cover Image
By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor)
$38.00
ISBN: 9780593230572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - November 16th, 2021

Reasons: Banned and challenged for being “a racially divisive and revisionist account of history that threatens the integrity of the Union by denying the true principles on which it was founded.”


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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316453691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020

Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people


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In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 1st, 2020

Reason: Contains sexually explicit content.


Melissa (formerly published as GEORGE) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781338843415
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - April 19th, 2022

Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”


Speak Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780312674397
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - May 10th, 2011

Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity


Speak 20th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781250302359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - January 15th, 2019

Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity


All American Boys Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781481463348
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - August 29th, 2017

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”


Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781433828546
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Magination Press - March 1st, 2018

Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views


To Kill a Mockingbird Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780060935467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - July 5th, 2005

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience


Of Mice and Men Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9780140177398
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 1st, 1993

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students


The Bluest Eye Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780375411557
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - December 28th, 1993

Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse


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The Hate U Give Cover Image
By Angie Thomas, Amandla Stenberg (Foreword by)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message


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The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - March 16th, 1998

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”


Drama: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338801897
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - December 7th, 2021

Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”


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And Tango Makes Three (Classic Board Books) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781481446952
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Simon - June 2nd, 2015

Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content


The Kite Runner Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594631931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

Reasons: This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”


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Looking for Alaska Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780142402511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 28th, 2006

Reasons: Challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”


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Eleanor & Park: Exclusive Special Edition Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250012579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 26th, 2013

Reason: Challenged for offensive language


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781400032716
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 18th, 2004

Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”)


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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780618871711
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - June 5th, 2007

Reasons: violence and other (“graphic images”)


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Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Pantheon Graphic Library) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780375714573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - June 1st, 2004

Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”


Bless Me, Ultima Cover Image
$8.00
ISBN: 9780446600255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 1st, 1994

Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit


All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780374312718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - April 28th, 2020

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780618711659
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books - April 4th, 2006

Reasons: contains “several passages that were 'extremely' vulgar detailing sexual acts.”


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Between the World and Me Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812993547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - July 14th, 2015

Reasons: Challenged and banned because it "might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.”


1984 Cover Image
By George Orwell, Erich Fromm (Afterword by)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780451524935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet -

Reasons: “Pro-communist and contains explicit sexual matter.”


The Catcher in the Rye Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780316769488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 1st, 1991

Reasons: Sex, violence, and profanity. "It is a filthy, filthy book."


The Great Gatsby: The Only Authorized Edition Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982149482
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - November 17th, 2020

Reasons: Challenged because of language and sexual references.


The Grapes of Wrath Cover Image
By John Steinbeck, Robert DeMott (Introduction by), Robert DeMott (Notes by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143039433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - March 28th, 2006

Reasons: The book contains the phrase "God damn" and uses God and Jesus in a "vain and profane manner along with inappropriate sexual references." 


The Color Purple: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143135692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - December 10th, 2019

Reasons: "Sexual and social explicitness" and "troubling ideas about race relations, man's relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality."


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Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Joseph Heller, Christopher Buckley (Introduction by)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781451626650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2011

Reasons: Challenged because of its several references to women as "whores."


Brave New World Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780060850524
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - October 17th, 2006

Reasons: Sexuality, drugs, suicide.


As I Lay Dying (Vintage International) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679732259
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 1991

Reasons: Profanity and questions the existence of God.


Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780060838676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - March 19th, 2013

Reasons: language and sexual explicitness.


Invisible Man (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679732761
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 14th, 1995

Reasons: profanity and images of violence and sexuality


Native Son Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060837563
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - August 2nd, 2005

Reasons: "Vulgar, profane, and sexually explicit."


Slaughterhouse-Five (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780440180296
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dell - November 3rd, 1991

Reasons: "Contains foul language and promotes deviant sexual behavior.”


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Gender Queer: A Memoir Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781549304002
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Oni Press - May 28th, 2019

Go Tell It on the Mountain (Vintage International) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780375701870
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 12th, 2013

Reasons: Recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women. 


The Lord Of The Rings Deluxe Edition Cover Image
$36.00
ISBN: 9780544273443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 29th, 2013

Reason: Satanic


The Satanic Verses: A Novel Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780812976717
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 11th, 2008

Reason: "Blasphemous to the prophet Mohammed."


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A Separate Peace Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743253970
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - September 30th, 2003

Reason: "A filthy, trashy sex novel."


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Brideshead Revisited: 75th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316242103
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - November 3rd, 2020

Reason: Promotes homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.


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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Cover Image
By Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey (Foreword by)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780345514400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - April 21st, 2009

 Reasons: language and portrayals of violence, racism, sexuality, childhood rape and teen pregnancy


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This One Summer Cover Image
By Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), Mariko Tamaki
$18.99
ISBN: 9781596437746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - May 6th, 2014

Reasons: LGBT characters, drug use, profanity, and sexually explicit with mature themes


The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, Book One) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780439023528
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - July 1st, 2010

Reasons: religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group