Our Favorite Banned Books!

John GreenIt’s Banned Books Week! Every year, the national book community celebrates our freedom to read, while calling our attention to the problem of censorship in this country. It’s kind of crazy which books people find controversial. Our beloved Looking for Alaska, by John Green, was one of the top 10 challenged books in 2012.

To celebrate this most important of weeks, we’ve got a list of our favorite banned books we think you should check out. And let us know in the comments if you have a favorite title that was unjustly challenged.

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” – Oscar Wilde

Mark TwainThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

There’s so much to love about Huck’s adventures on the Mississippi. Mark Twain’s classic is taught in high schools across the U.S. for a good reason: It’s a timeless story about growth and friendship, race and morality. Plus, it gets better on second and third readings. Trust us on this one.



Holden Caulfield, JD SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye

by J.D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield and his New York shenanigans are definitely controversial. Love him or loathe him, you can’t deny that he’s a very memorable character. Whether or not you relate to his teen angst, we think you should at least have the option to read the book and make that decision for yourself.



The Giver

by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry has been outspoken over the years about the problems of banning books. We think it’s ironic that people should want to ban her book about a repressive society. Clearly these people don’t get the book’s bigger message. We love The Giver because it’s both entertaining and thought-provoking — and the remaining books in the series are just as gripping.


The Witches

by Roald Dahl

Yes, it’s true, when we read this book when we were little we were convinced that every old lady in the neighborhood was secretly a witch. Maybe that’s why people want it banned? Because they don’t want readers to figure out they are really witches? Regardless, this is just one of several Roald Dahl books that people have tried to ban over the years. And they wonder why Dahl hated grown-ups so much.



Harry Potter

by J.K. Rowling

All of the Harry Potter books have been challenged at one point or another. We cannot figure out why someone would try to ban our favorite series of all-time — especially when you consider that these books have encouraged millions of kids to love reading. Just thinking about a life without Harry and company makes us feel like sobbing.



The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

Like The Giver, this book is about the dangers of living in a repressive society. This may be our all-time favorite dystopian novel. Seriously, if you love The Hunger Games or Divergent, you should read this classic.



Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky

There are so many reasons we love this book: it’s realistic, funny, and heart-breaking. Chbosky did an excellent job writing an accurate (if sometimes tragic) account of high school. We think it’s silly for anyone to want to ban a book that’s so realistic – it just makes us feel like they are trying to deny just how sucky high school can really be.


What do you think about our list? Let us know all about your favorite banned books in the comments!

31 thoughts on “Our Favorite Banned Books!

  1. I can’t believe The Outsiders isn’t on this list. It was so controversial when it was published and it still is, but it’s so unbelievably fantastic.

  2. Who banned these books? Why would they band these books? I’ve read all of them except the Handmaid’s Tail (which I now plan to read) and they were all awesome!

  3. Wow I can’t believe Harry Potter is on the list. I am curious as to the requirements to get banned. I also know Thirteen Reasons Why is on the list which I absolutely loved reading. But its interesting how a boy wizard can be put in a list with a book about suicide. I think its ridiculous that any book is banned.

    • This is one I can sort of understand. While I’m against censorship, I do wish that this particular novel hadn’t been read to me at the young age it was. I believe this novel is in large part to blame for my sometimes disillusioned, sometimes cynical nature. I was too young to see the twist coming, to understand the meaning behind the verbage used. I never felt very bad until the moment they peered in on the dad’s work. I feel this is an important book, but perhaps not one which should be part of a curriculum. I can understand the idea that someone should not have to read a book of this nature, unless they choose to do so. That said, to deny the right to read is criminal. To deny the teacher the ability to teach one book to an age group that it may be a bit mature for? I can understand. Again, I’m not supporting censorship, I just wish I hadn’t had this book read to my entire class in the library when I was in about 4th grade. I do, however, thank this book, for the fact that it helped cause me to be who I am today. I’ll forever remember the sailboat.

  4. I personally ban Harry Potter because I personally think that Harry Potter is silly, which is what I think, in my opinion, IMO. 😛

  5. Harry Potter all the way. people are way to sensitive. we are going to have a generation of people who go out into the real world and flounder because they were so sheltered.

  6. Hello?? I mean, Harry Potter and The Giver are great, but what about Fahrenheit 451? The most ironically banned book of all time, people!

  7. The Giver and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are some of my absolute favorite books. The Giver is a book I think everyone ought to read, even if it isn’t the type of book they like, and Wallflower is a book I really relate to on a personal level. Huck Finn I’m about a quarter of the way through, and although it’s not my kind of book I can say it is a great one. Of course, I’m also a big Potter fan. Not much that needs to be said there. As for Roald Dahl’s book, The Witches, I loved all his books growing up. I still do, and The Witches is one of my favorites.
    I haven’t read the other two books on this list, but they’re definitely on my to-do list.

    The Giver, Wallflower, and Huck Finn I can understand wanting to ban. However trying to ban a book like The Giver is the height of sad, sad irony. Banning Wallflower would be an attempt to protect kids and teens from being exposed to the difficult subjects that book deals with, but by shielding kids like that, you do more harm to them than you would letting them know so they maybe feel more able to cope with and seek help with such a situation if they have to, or even just a difficult family or social life. Huck Finn is a book people try to ban because it’s about race and running away and includes things people now find inappropriate for any book not aimed at adults.
    As others that I’ve read, I’m baffled. Why would you try to ban Harry Potter and The Witches, of all things? The only explanation I can come up with is some sort of really backwards religious censorship thing that belongs back with the witch hunts.
    Banning a book like The Handmaid’s Tale kind of goes in the same vein as banning The Giver or something by Ray Bradbury, judging by your description of it. It’s predictable, but it either shows ignorance or hints at the kind of thing conspiracy theorists love. As for The Catcher in the Rye, well, I’m ashamed to admit that all I know about it is that it’s a classic, and those tend to get threatened with the banhammer a lot…

    Speaking of Ray Bradbury, I am surprised nothing of his is here. I seem to remember reading about people trying to ban his books. George Orwell’s 1984 got that treatment, too, if I remember correctly. At least, I think it did somewhere.
    Also, did anyone ever try to ban Of Mice and Men?

  8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is my all-time favourite banned book. There are so many great lessons in this book that I find it hard to believe that it was challenged. The meaning of friendship, staying true to ones-self, and using your talents to the best of your abilities; all important things for young people to understand.

  9. My favourite is still “Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen: A Mostly True Memoir” by Jenny Lawson.

    It’s just so interesting to me that a memoir would be banned because of the memories. Sure there was a lot of swearing, and some very interesting stories, but they were all memories. It just seems so strange that people would ban real life instances.

    • I’ve never read that book but yeah, that doesn’t sound right. It’s like the banners are trying to censor her life or something!

  10. I read Perks of being a Wallflower in my freshman year. So, I could totally get how realistic it was. But I don’t understand why people would want to ban it

  11. The parents at my school just banned Eleanor and Park! They claimed that it was too “pornographic and explicit for high school”. They even cancelled a meet and greet we had with the author. If they wanted to ban a book, why didn’t they ban Twilight which has every single warning sign of abuse, or Pretty Little Liars with a student/teacher relationship?

  12. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
    Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
    The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
    Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
    Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
    Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson

    WHY? WHYYYYYY?????????????

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