Get Out Your Banned Books and Read!


Next week is National Banned Books Week or, as the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) calls it, a “celebration of the freedom to read.” So, in the spirit of all things books and words and writing and creativity and ideas, let’s all read banned books!

To that end, below is a list of banned books from the NCAC’s Banned Books Catalog (click here for the full text that includes each book’s “indiscretion”).

So, tell me, which book will YOU read?

Sherman Alexie
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Isabel Allende
The House of the Spirits

Dorothy Allison
Bastard Out of Carolina

Julia Alvarez
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Laurie Halse Anderson

M.T. Anderson

Maya Angelou
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale

James Baldwin
Go Tell It On The Mountain

Alison Bechdel
Fun Home

Judy Blume
Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, Deeny, Then Again Maybe I Won’t, Forever, Places I Never Meant To Be

Anthony Burgess
Clockwork Orange

Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors

William S. Burroughs
Naked Lunch

Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

John Cleland
Fanny Hill

Daniel Clowes
Ice Haven (Eightball #22)

Suzzane Collins
The Hunger Games

Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War, I am the Cheese

Howard Cruse
Stuck Rubber Baby

Chris Crutcher
Whale Talk, Chinese Handcuffs

Roald Dahl
The Witches

Emily M. Danforth
The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Charles Darwin
The Origin of Species

Corey Doctorow
Little Brother

Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed

Laura Esquirel
Like Water for Chocolate

Marcus Ewert
10,000 Dresses

William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying

F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

Anne Frank
The Diary Of A Young Girl

Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere, Absolute Sandman

Nancy Garden
Annie on My Mind

Jean Craighead George
Julie of the Wolves

Allen Ginsberg

William Golding
Lord of the Flies

John Green
Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Fairy Tales

Robie Harris
It’s Perfectly Normal

Joseph Heller

Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms

Carolivia Herron
Nappy Hair

S. E. Hinton
The Outsiders

Khaled Hosseni
The Kite Runner

Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Aldous Huxley
Brave New World

Kim Dong Hwa
The Color of Earth

E.L. James
Fifty Shades of Grey

James Joyce

Norton Juster
The Phantom Tollbooth

Ken Kesey
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Stephen King
Apt Pupil

D.H. Lawrence
Women in Love, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Harper Lee
To Kill A Mockingbird

David Levithan
Two Boys Kissing

Mathew Loux

Lois Lowry
The Giver

Carolyn Mackler
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

Haruki Murakami
Norwegian Wood

Alan Moore
Neonomicon, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, Watchmen

Toni Morrison

Walter Dean Myers
Fallen Angels, Monster

Vladimir Nabokov

Lesléa Newman
Heather Has Two Mommies

George Orwell

Chuck Palahniuk

Todd Parr
The Family Book

Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass

Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
And Tango Makes Three

Katherine Paterson
Bridge to Terabithia

Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants

Patricia Polacco
In Our Mothers’ House

Tomás Rivera
…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him

J.K Rowling
Harry Potter

J.D. Salinger
Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories

Marjane Satrapi
The Complete Persepolis

Dr. Seuss
The Lorax

William Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night

Neal Shusterman

Shel Silverstein
A Light in the Attic

Curtis Sittenfeld

Art Spiegelman

John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men

R.L. Stine

Makoto Tateno
Hero Heels 2

Amy Timberlake
The Dirty Cowboy

Craig Thompson

J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Terry Trueman
Stuck in Neutral

Mark Twain
Huckleberry Finn

Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse 5

Alice Walker
The Color Purple

Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass

Daniel Wilson

Richard Wright
Black Boy, Native Son

23 thoughts on “Get Out Your Banned Books and Read!

Add yours

  1. I have read a few of those listed and many others that WOULD be banned if the judgmental ones knew they existed and had their way.

    1. Apparently, the requirement is as simple as “some people don’t like it.” WOW – right? If you read the explanations in the catalog (see link in text), reasons cited include the use of certain words (masturbation, gasp!), content deemed immoral or graphic or inappropriate, use of profanity, sexual content, instigation of nightmares, questioning of authority, promotion of socialist ideas, discussion of homosexuality, appearance of anti-family sentiment. It goes on an on. Shameful.

    2. Oh.. I’m a little lawless and a mild rule breaker. I hate being told what to do.. I have no problem breaking their rules! LOL I just want to read about what’s REAL! Realistic novels.

  2. Certain words? Masturbation? What? Get those words off of prime time tv, will ya!
    Read lots of these. I guess I’m in the gutter. All in! I just downloaded a sample of Native Son. (Sample? I’m cheap that way. If I like it, I’m – ah – all in!)

  3. LOL–when I first read the headline I mistook “Banned” for “Damned” :-) Slightly different message, eh?
    I’ll say one thing–if you have to ban a book, you’ve already lost. Writers know that!

  4. So many good books are on this list. The biggest reason kids don’t like to read is the fact that schools only let them read books they know are sugar coated stories. Let them read the real stuff, the stuff that teaches them about life and the world around them and we’d have a new generation of voracious readers. I can’t believe they even banned YA writers like Suzanne Collins and John Green.

    I just got done reading ” I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and it was incredible (can’t believe it took me this long to read it). Every kid should read that book!

    1. It’s all about fear, right? Fear they might gain a new (different) perspective, might think for themselves? Let them read the real stuff indeed!

    1. I just read one of her adult books, and truly, it was like reconnecting with an old friend. Like you, she made me feel “normal” when nothing and no one else did!

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