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“Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.”
—A. Whitney Griswold (1952)

American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week for the twentieth year. Create a sensation, read a banned book.


You could start with: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The District Attorney in Boston, MA. in 1881 threatened criminal prosecution unless the volume was expurgated. The book was withdrawn in Boston. Source: Geller, Evelyn. Forbidden books in American Public Libraries, 1876-1939: A study in cultural change. Westport, CT: Greenwood Pr., 1984.


But if you want to make a real splash, grab The Stupids series.


A Beginner’s Guide to the Most Frequently Challenged Books in 2001*


Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz


Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling


Forever by Judy Blume


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


The Giver by Lois Lowry


It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris


Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine


A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck


The Color Purple by Alice Walker


Sex by Madonna


Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle


Go Ask Alice by Anonymous


Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers


In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak


The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard


The Witches by Roald Dahl


The Goats by Brock Cole


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents; Daughters by Lynda Madaras


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Beloved by Toni Morrison


The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


The Pigman by Paul Zindel


Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard


Deenie by Judy Blume


Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes


A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)


Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole


Cujo by Stephen King


James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl


The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell


Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy


The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende


The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney


Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


Lord of the Flies by William Golding


Carrie by Stephen King


Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume


On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer


Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge


The Dead Zone by Stephen King


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain


Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison


Always Running by Luis Rodriguez


Private Parts by Howard Stern


Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford


Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene


Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman


Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett


Running Loose by Chris Crutcher


How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell


View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Robert


The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder


The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney


Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier


And there are so many more . . .


*as compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association.

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