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.

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

Compiled by:
Jen H.
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.

All Boys Aren't Blue

George M. Johnson
(Adult Nonfiction - 306.7662 Joh)

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

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.

The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
(Adult Fiction - Morriso)

Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove–a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others–prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be beautiful, people will look at her, and her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

Gender Queer

Maia Kobabe
(Graphic Novels - GN 921 Kobabe Kob)

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story; it's a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

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.

Lawn Boy

Jonathan Evison
(Adult Fiction - Evison)

Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man on a journey to discover himself–a search to find the secret to achieving the American dream of happiness and prosperity. That's the birthright for all Americans, isn't it? If so, then what is Mike Munoz's problem? Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can't seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it. And it's looking really good.


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Mariko Tamaki
(Young Adult - Andrews)

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together, they spend their time making movies–their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Until Greg's mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia–cue extreme adolescent awkwardness–but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the worst film ever made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. And all at once, Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Out of Darkness

Ashley Hope Pérez
(Young Adult - Y Pérez)

Loosely based on a school explosion that took place in New London, Texas in 1937, this is the story of two teenagers: Naomi, who is Mexican, and Wash, who is Black, and their dealings with race, segregation, love, and the forces that destroy people.

This Book is Gay

Juno Dawson
(Adult Nonfiction - 306.766 Daw)

Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who's ever dared to wonder.