Banned Books Week – Day 2 – My Top Ten Favorite Banned Books!

It’s Banned Books Week!

It’s day 2 of banned books week! We are celebrating Young Adult Literature this year. 

Check out my post for Day 1 – What is a Banned Book, anyway?

I’ve decided to commandeer the Top Ten Tuesday post this week, and instead of doing the suggested top ten, I’m going to post ten of my favorite banned YA books!

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Harry Potter series
by J.K. Rowling
Why was it banned?: Occult/Satanism

That’s right folks, HP has been one of the most challenged books in america, particularly between 1990 and 2000. In 1999 it was challenged 23 times, in 13 states. And why was it challenged? Because of “occult” themes. That means that some people thought exposing children to “witches” and “wizards” and “magic” was “unsuitable.” Which really begs the question, are those people also opposed to Disney films, classic fairy tales, and oh, say… IMAGINATION?! Weird because magic is a pretty fundamental belief for the average child, no? The human urge to censor is so strange to me.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by: Sherman Alexie

Why is it challenged?:
Accused of being anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”

In 2014 this book made it onto the ALA’s top ten most challenged books. I read it and its phenomenal. Check out my book talk for it. I’m very unclear on how this is “anti-family” in any way and I find it interesting that its accused of cultural insensitivity. Because its written about Native Americans…. by a Native American. I’m not sure if it is the white culture, or the Native American culture who found this insensitive.  This book shows an unflinching view into the life of one “Indian” kid living on a reservation. And there is alcoholism, gambling, violence, cursing, bullying, and racism. Just like there is in real life.

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And Tango makes three
By: Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole

Why was it challenged?:
Accused of being Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”

Sigh, I honestly can’t even begin to get into my feelings about this book being banned/challenged. It just upsets me so much. This one is actually a children’s picture book, not a YA book, but I wanted to include it because I loved it. It actually brought a little tear to my eye. Its based on the true story of these two apparently homosexual penguins who paired up at a zoo and built a nest, and put pebbles in the nest, seemingly hoping for a baby penguin to raise. At some point an extra egg was available so the zookeeper slipped it into their nest. They sat on it and prepared just like the hetero penguin couples did and eventually, voila! A new penguin family of three was born. A beautiful, heart-warming, and true story of love and family.

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Hunger Games
by: Suzanne Collins

Why was it challenged?
Religious viewpoint, unsuited to any age group

The truly frightening thing about this is that it wasn’t challenged due to violence (helllllooo! children killing children? for entertainment? This doesn’t upset anyone?) but rather because of “religious viewpoint.” I don’t even remember there being a religious viewpoint in this series. Am I forgetting it? I feel this is a perfect example of how ridiculous censorship is. How can people challenge this book because of the (nonexistent) religious viewpoint, and have apparently no problem at all with the violence. I mean, I read this when I was like 23 and even I found the violence disturbing. People are so narrow about sex, religion, and politics while being so lax about violence.

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Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging
by: Louise Rennison

Why is it challenged?:
Probably because of its frank discussion of boys, & references to lesbianism, pornography and erections

This series is absolutely outrageous, laugh-out-loud funny. The main character does indeed dwell on the very things any 14 year old does and she had no filter, whatsoever. That kind of honesty scares some folks who feel too offended by the honesty and wanted to ban this book series! Check out my book talk for this series! It makes one wonder, at what point do adults stop remembering what its like to be a teenager? When do they suddenly start thinking that by avoiding issues of sex, drugs, and sexuality, those issues will disappear and teens won’t think about them? It boggles the mind, truly. I’m 26 and have not “adulted” to that degree of naiveté yet!

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by: Marjane Satrapi

Why was it challenged?:

Gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions.”

This was one of the first required readings I was assigned my first year in college for my undergraduate degree. Its actually a graphic novel and was also the fist GN I ever read! I liked it so much I immediately went out and read the sequel as well. Its actually an autobiography of the author Marjane Satrapi, and chronicles her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It gives a unique look into what life was like for the average person during that time in Iran, and is touching, funny, and heartbreaking all at once. Everyone can gain something by reading this book!

Check out the ALA’s case study on Persepolis

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Hmm I guess thats only 6, not 10. Why don’t you guys comment some of your favorites?

Below you can check out some virtual readouts! Go to the YouTube channel for more!


  1. I think I just found a favorite in Saga, the graphic novel series, which was challenged for its “anti-family” and “age inappropriate” content. Mostly I snorted, considering the main characters include an interspecies couple with one largely pacifist father and a doting mother trying to keep her family together. Anti-family my rump.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, it’s not banned anymore, and it’s not YA, but I really enjoyed Ulysses by James Joyce. And you have to laugh at some of the reasons try to ban books because otherwise you’re just going to cry – or go on a homocidal rampage, whichever. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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