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ED 351: Children's Literature: Banned Books

About Banned Books

The American Library Association promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

Important Definitions:

  • Challenge - an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
  • Banning - the removal of those materials.

Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

From http://www.ala.org/bbooks/about

Descriptions on this website are taken directly from the ALA Banned Books webpage as well as from the Yearly lists of Banned and Challenged Books, and multiple banned book descriptive websites (Search for banned children's books or banned picture books).

Children's Banned Book Lists

Yearly Lists

These brochures list books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in that year as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom. Click on the links below to download a PDF of each list from 2004 to the current year. Starting with 2014-15, the lists are webpages.

Banned/Challenged Books - Young Adult

The following banned or challenged "Young Adult" books are available at WSC.

Banned/Challenged Books - Easy

The following are examples of banned or challenged "Easy" books.

Banned/Challenged Books - Juvenile (Nonfiction/ Folklore/Poetry)

The following banned or challenged "Juvenile" books are available at WSC.

Banned/Challenged Books - Young Adult

The following banned or challenged "Young Adult" books are available at WSC.

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2015

As reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Most Frequently Challenged Authors

Most frequently challenged authors:

2012: Dav Pilkey, Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, E.L. James, Ellen Hopkins, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Patricia Polacco, John Green, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alvin Schwartz, Dagberto Glib

2011: Lauren Myracle, Kim Dong Hwa, Chris Crutcher, Carolyn Mackler, Robert Greene, Sonya Sones, Dori Hillestead Butler, Sherman Alexie, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Harper Lee, Eric Jerome Dickey, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Dav Pilkey, Cecily von Ziegesar

2010: Ellen Hopkins, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Sonya Sones, Judy Blume, Ann Brasheres, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Natasha Friend

Learn More about Banned Books

Banned/Challenged Books - Juvenile

The following banned or challenged "Juvenile" books are available at WSC.