Banned Books for Kids!

Banned Books for Kids!

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. Below are some children’s books that have all been targeted for removal or restriction, including at least one of the reasons why.


Compiled by:
Children's Staff

Picture Books and Younger Elementary

The Family Book

Todd Parr
(Juvenile Picturebook - Ej Parr)

Represents a variety of families, some big and some small, some with only one parent and some with two moms or dads, some quiet and some noisy, but all alike in some ways and special no matter what. Challenged because: references same sex parents.


Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice

Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, Jennifer Zivoin
- illustrator
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.8 Cel)

After discussing the police shooting of a local Black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates. Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers that provides general guidance about addressing racism with children, child-friendly vocabulary definitions, conversation guides, and a link to additional online resources for parents and teachers. Challenged because: contains “divisive language” and thought to promote anti-police views.


And Tango Makes Three

Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson
(Juvenile Picturebooks - Ej Ric)

At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches. Based on a true story. Challenged because: deemed unsuitable for young children; homosexual overtones.


This Day in June

Gayle Pitman
(Juvenile Picturebooks - Ej Pit)

Vivid illustrations and rhyming couplets convey the fun and exuberate feelings associated with attending a Pride parade. There is a Reading Guide at the end of the book that serves as a primer on LGBTQ+ history and culture and explains the references made in the story. Challenged because: contains LGBTQ+ content that promotes "gay lifestyle."


Where the Sidewalk Ends

Shel Silverstein
(Juvenile NonFiction - J 811.54 Sil)

A boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale are only two of the characters in a collection of humorous poetry illustrated with the author's own drawings. Challenged because: encourages children to be disobedient.


Older Elementary

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

Dav Pilkey
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pilkey)

When George and Harold hypnotize their principal into thinking that he is the superhero Captain Underpants, he leads them to the lair of the nefarious Dr. Diaper, where they must defeat his evil robot henchmen. Challenged because: contains offensive language, violence, misbehavior, and unsuited to age group.


Drama

Raina Telgemeier
(Graphic Novels - GN Telgeme Drama)

Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going. Challenged because: contains LGBTQ+ characters deemed offensive.


The Giver

Lois Lowry
(Juvenile Fiction - J Lowry)

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. Challenged because: discusses difficult topics such as infanticide, suicide, and euthanasia.


The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman
(Juvenile Graphic Novel - J GN Graveyard Book Vol. 1)

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard. Challenged because: contains violent imagery.


Hatchet

Gary Paulsen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Paulsen)

After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the Canadian wilderness, learning to survive initially with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents' divorce. Challenged because: contains graphic descriptions of trauma and injury.


Melissa (George)

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. Challenged because: contains LGBTQ+ content that conflicts with religious viewpoints and community values.


New Kid

Jerry Craft
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J GN Craft New Kid)

After his parents send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics, Jordan Banks finds himself torn between two worlds. Challenged because: claims that it teaches critical race theory.


Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

Mildred D Taylor
(Juvenile Fiction - J Taylor)

A black family living in the South during the 1930's are faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don't understand. Challenged because: contains depictions of racism and racial slurs.


Stamped (For Kids) : Racism, Antiracism, and You

Jason Reynolds, Ibram X Kendi, Sonja Cherry Paul
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.896 Che)

A chapter book adaptation of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning "Stamped from the Beginning." Kids will discover where racist ideas came from, identify how they impact America today, and meet those who have fought racism with antiracism. Along the way, they'll learn how to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives. Challenged because: contains "divisive topics" and does not encompass racism against all people.


The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Christopher Paul Curtis
(VITAL - Curtis)

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963. Challenged because: contains depictions of racism, political views, offensive language, and violence.


A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L'engle
(Young Adult Fiction - Y L’Engle)

Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Challenged because: both too religious and not religious enough (book blends religion, supernatural, and science).