Banned Books Week

Publication Date


Learn about 12 Banned Books and the sometimes surprising reasons that they've been censored. Click on each book to learn more and to find it in our catalog!


Thirteen Reasons Why

This book has depictions of sexual assault, mental illness, and suicide stayed relatively unnoticed until the release of the infamous Netflix adaptation. The show, which is often more explicit than the book it's based on, spurred a large number of attempted bans.

This One Summer

A graphic novel about a formative summer in the life of pre-teen Rose, This One Summer was the most challenged book of 2016, finding controversy due to its depiction of drug use, sexuality, and LGBTQ characters.

Find a review about This One Summer in our catalog

The Hate U Give

A novel about racial identity and justice, as well as one that directly tackles police violence against POC, the Hate U Give was controversial even before its release. A number of school districts, most notable the Texan Katy School District, challenged the book on grounds of vulgarity and violence, but many suspect these challenges were a way to avoid explicitly banning a book for supporting Black Lives Matter.

Find the Hate U Give in our catalog


A story about a mother haunted by the death of her daughter, who she kills to save from a life of brutal slavery in the American South has been challenged repeatedly for its inclusion of bestiality, sexual violence, and generally displaying the absolute brutality and lasting psychological and cultural effects of American slavery.

Find Beloved in our catalog

Scary Stories

This books by Alvin Schwartz contains stories of cannibalism, monsters, and unavoidable death to scare kids, but apparently scared parents even more, making them the most challenged books of the 1990s.

Harry Potter

One of the most challenged book series of all time, the Harry Potter books single-handedly shifted the tone of American book censorship from primarily anti-sex and anti-vulgarity to occult and anti-Christian worries.

Find Harry Potter in our catalog

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

This books by Carolyn Mackler is a story about teenage sexuality, body image, and dealing with a dysfunctional family, this book was quickly challenged in a number of schools for the usual reasons of age inappropriate material, explicit themes, and a single instance of vulgarity.

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seus

In one of the more amusing controversies, the Toronto Public Library was asked to remove this Dr. Seuss classic from its shelves. The explanation? Telling kids to "Hop on Pop" encourages unsafe violence against fathers. In fact, the same group that asked for the censorship of a book used to teach toddler phonics also demanded that the Toronto Library pay damages to any father injured due to literal minded young readers. Surprisingly, the claim did not pass the Library's committee, and Hop on Pop remains on shelves.

Big Hard Sex Criminals

This comedic book by Matt Fraction is about a bank robbing couple who stop time when they orgasm has been banned from both libraries and the Apple store, usually under claims of sexually explicit material. This sparked a significant controversy in 2017, when numerous comic authors worried that Apple would begin a larger policy of censoring mature material.

Lady Chatterley's Lover

Ever since its initial publication in 1932, Lady Chatterley's Lover has stirred up controversy. With explicit depictions of sex, adultery, and the use of "four letter words", the book wasn't printed uncensored in its native UK until 1960, and was kept from the United States entirely until 1959.

Find Lady Chatterley's Lover in our catalog

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Detailing the attempts of two high school boys to break a world record for marathon make out sessions, this book has been challenged for obvious reasons of LGBTQ and sexual content, but also for a supposedly inappropriate cover and even for encouraging public displays of affection.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

Realistic and unflinching depictions of poverty, alcoholism, racism, and tackling issues of teenage sexuality and identity all led to claims of vulgarity and "anti-Christianity". This multi-faceted controversy has consistently placed The Absolutely True Diary in lists of banned books ever since its publication in 2007.

Find The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian in our catalog

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