Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating open access to information and our freedom to read. Each year, several books are challenged in libraries and schools across the country, and their removal requested. Banned Books Week shines a light on these attempts at censorship by releasing a list of the most-challenged books that year.

Check out some of the young adult books included in last year's list, as well as some beloved favorites from previous years.

Print the list of banned books

Celebrate your right to read—pick up a banned book!

Compiled by:
Jen H.

George Orwell
(Adult Fiction - Orwell)

In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie
(Young Adult – Y Alexie)

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-White farm town school where the only other Native American is the school mascot.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Susan Kuklin
(Adult Nonfiction - 306.768 Kuk)

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.


Raina Telgemeier
(Young Adult – Y Telgeme)

Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi. Various relationships start and end—and others never quite get going.

Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell
(Young Adult – Y Rowell)

"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try"—Publisher



Alex Gino
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gino)

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood
(Adult Fiction - Atwood)

A look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

J.K. Rowling
(Juvenile Fiction – J Rowling)

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, Harry, a young boy with a great destiny, proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas
(Young Adult - Thomas)

After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

The House on Mango Street

Sandra Cisneros
(Adult Fiction - Cisneros)

This book tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong, not to her run-down neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her. Capturing her thoughts and emotions in poems and stories, she is able to rise above hopelessness and create a quiet space for herself in the midst of her oppressive surroundings. Esperanza's story is that of a young girl coming into her power, and inventing for herself what she will become.

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins
(Young Adult – Y Collins)

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

A Light in the Attic

Shel Silverstein
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54)

A collection of humorous poems and drawings.

Looking for Alaska

John Green
(Young Adult – Y Green)

Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks—and the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

The Outsiders

S.E. Hinton
(Young Adult – Y Hinton)

The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parent's death—and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky
(Young Adult – Y Chbosky)

A coming of age novel about Charlie, a shy, introspective, and very intelligent high school "wallflower." He deals with the usual teen problems, but also with the suicide of his best friend.


Marjane Satrapi
(Graphic Novels - GN 741.5092 Satrapi Sat)

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.


Kurt Vonnegut
(Adult Fiction - Vonnegut)

Billy Pilgrim returns home from the Second World War only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.

This One Summer

Mariko Tamaki
(Graphic Novels – Tamaki)

Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It's her summer getaway, her refuge. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and Rose and her friend Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making.