Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Banner Image

ED 351: Children's Literature

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).

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.

Children's Banned Book Lists

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 - Juvenile

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 2017

As reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom:

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
    Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
    Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
  3. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
  4. The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
    This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
  5. George written by Alex Gino
    Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
  6. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex educationand is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
  8. The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
    Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug useprofanity, and offensive language.
  9. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
    Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
  10. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

Learn More about Banned Books