Our Favorite Banned Books

Banned Books Week is coming up next month. If you went to public or private school, you probably ran into at least one book whose author endured censorship. If you were homeschooled, certain books may have been banned in your home. If not, your teachers and parents probably discussed literary censorship once or twice, minimum.

This writer has read her share of banned or questioned books, and she wants to know, what are some favorites in our community? The author should discuss some popular challenged books, especially favorites. Why are/were they challenged? If the challenge has died down, why–or why not? What particular literary value do these books have? Most importantly, what do we miss out on when we ban a particular book or author from our curricular or personal canon (s)?

-Judy Blume (Margaret, Blubber, Deenie, really almost any book)
-J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter; witchcraft controversy not as hot but still present)
-Any book, especially children’s, featuring LGBT characters/situations
-Anne Frank (yes, it was once banned for being a "downer" and because of Anne’s discussions of marital relations/sex)
-Shel Silverstein (any book)
-John Green’s Looking for Alaska

  • I actually read two on this list during middle school: Judy Blume and Anne Frank. I also read another book about a Jewish prisoner in Argentina and the sheer torture that he endured by his captors. But, this was during college and by that point I was mature enough to be exposed to it and to walk away from it a better person as a result. I feel that the Blume variety of distaste was mild in comparison. Further still, how is Anne Frank any different from 1984 by George Orwell in terms of social oppression and sexual deviance, looking back at it? Although I have never read any of Rowling's work, I have watch her televised speeches and interviews and feel that prose as vital and distinct must not be banned, it would be a disservice to art in general and literature in particular. – L:Freire 4 years ago
  • I went to a Catholic K-8 school and many of these were banned. I actually learned how to read by following the release of the Harry Potter books as I grew up, so they were naturally my favorites. But a few other banned books not mentioned here were: Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, all of Scott Westerfeld's books, and The Picture of Dorian Gray (lol!). There were probably many more, but those were the ones I went out of my way to read. Thank you, public libraries! – Eden 4 years ago
  • A long time ago I took a look at Frank's book and was absolutely shocked and devastated after watching the documentaries. This book shouldn't be banned whatsoever. IMHO. – tscosj 4 years ago
  • No. No, it shouldn’t. In my opinion, Holocaust studies should be required starting in sixth grade up—full courses with supplements like trips to museums and resource centers. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago

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