Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. In honor of that, we’ve compiled a list of books you may not know have been banned before!
All of the books below have been frequently banned books throughout the years. How do they get banned? Teachers and librarians have tried to have them removed from schools and libraries due to some content they don’t agree with.
With how amazing many of these books are, readers might be surprised to hear that they’ve been banned! Check out our list below:
‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green (2006)
Reasons for being banned: offensive language, sexually explicit, drugs/alcohol/smoking, and unsuited for age group.
John Green is a well-known, and well-loved author. So it may surprise some to hear one of his novels is on this list. Looking for Alaska won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, and tells the story of Miles Halter, who leaves his home-town to attend boarding school in Alabama in search of adventure. It’s there that he meets Alaska Young and he gets even more of an adventure than he ever expected.
‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon (2003)
Reasons for being banned: offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
Originally written to be an adult novel, Mark Haddon won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2003 and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Overall Best First Book. The novel is written from the viewpoint of a 15 year old boy with Aspergers syndrome who becomes obsessed with figuring out who killed his neighbor’s dog. Along the way he turns up more secrets than he went looking for which turns his world upside down.
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Reasons for being banned: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, anti-family, offensive language, religious viewpoint, and suicide.
A staple in many teenagers’ lives, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has sold millions of copies and was a #1 New York Times best seller for over a year. The main character Charlie begins to write letters to someone he doesn’t know after his friend commits suicide. During this time, he meets new friends, starts to date, deals with bullies, and has plenty of highs and lows.
‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
Reasons for being banned: offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.
The Kite Runner is the heartbreaking story of Amir and Hazara, who come from two different social classes in Afghanistan. Though Amir, who comes from a wealthy family, and Hazara form a strong friendship, they’re eventually torn apart. Amir is never able to forget abandoning his friend when he needed him the most and tries to make up for the past.
‘Twilight’ by Stephenie Meyer (2005)
Reasons for being banned: religious viewpoint, violence, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.
Love it or hate it, theres no denying that the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer is iconic. Considering the book features vampires that sparkle, it might surprise some that the book has been banned. Told from Bella’s viewpoint, the series chronicles how the teenager falls in love with Edward, who she finds out is a vampire. That’s not all: some of her friends also turn out to be werewolves and the two do not get along.
‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult (2004)
Reasons for being banned: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence.
The thought provoking novel deals with some very sensitive subjects on life, family, and identity. The main character, Anna, was literally chosen and born in order to be a donor for her sister who has battled leukemia since childhood. Now a teenager, Anna does something that could end her family as she knows it and be a death sentence for his sister. My Sister’s Keeper won multiple awards, including the Audie Award for Multi-Voiced Performance, Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Young Adults, and the Lincoln Award.
‘The Golden Compass’ by Philip Pullman (1995)
Reason for being banned: religious viewpoint.
There’s no doubting that The Golden Compass has made a big impact in young adult literature. Though Philip Pullman has won many awards for the series, many churches condemned it for being anti-religious. The book centers around Lyra Belacqua, who goes on an adventure to find her missing friend with the help of a rare truth-telling instrument called the alethiometer. She’s up against a group that has been stealing children to experiment on separating them from their daemons.
‘Harry Potter (series)’ by J.K. Rowling (1997)
Reasons for being banned: occult/Satanism, violence, anti-family, religious viewpoint.
If you’re visiting Hypable you probably already know all about the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling. What you may not know was that it faced a lot of banning thanks to all of that magic. Everything that children and young adults loved about the series, churches and some other organizations looked down on. Silly muggles.
‘Bridge to Terabithia’ by Katherine Paterson (1977)
Reasons for being banned: occult/Satanism, offensive language, violence.
Sensing a trend yet? Here’s another fantasy young adult novel that got banned. Bridge to Terabithia introduces two best friends, Jess and Leslie, who create a magical kingdom in the world where they rule as King and Queen. Full of magical creatures from their imagination, the friends use the kingdom to help them deal with real world issues.
‘Captain Underpants’ by Dav Pilkey (1997)
Reasons for being banned: offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence, sexually explicit.
This one just seems silly. What harm could Captain Underpants do? The series starts with two boys in the fourth grade who write comic books and like to play pranks. They find a way to get out of trouble with their principal by hypnotizing him and making him into their own superhero — Captain Underpants. Kids have devoured these books but it seems some adults don’t think it’s so funny.
For more information about Banned Books Week, visit the ALA!