100 Most Challenged and
Banned Books
#100 Heather Has Two Mommies
• Challenged for being age inappropriate
Brooklyn, NY
• “promotes a dangerous and ungodly
lifestyle..” North Carolina
• “is vile, sick and goes against every law
and constitution.” North Carolina
#99 Halloween ABC
• Encourages devil
worshipping. Oregon
• “satanic & disgusting…”
• Promotes satanism,
murder and suicide.
• “Too violent for children.”
#98 Freaky Friday
• Challenged due to age
– References to drinking and
– Taking God’s name in vain
#97 Pinkerton, Behave!
• Challenged because
a character was
holding a gun
#96 Nathan’s Run
• Removed from library
due to obscene/
profane language and
violence. (Pennsylvania)
• Challenged due to
sexual explicitness &
violence (Washington)
#95 Like Water for Chocolate
• Challenged for “sexually
explicit and inappropriate
Why books are banned?
• Top reasons for challenges:
– Sex, profanity and racism
• Most often censors are well-intentioned
often in an attempt to protect children.
• Ultimately, they are trying to limit the
freedom of others to choose what they
read, see, or hear.
#94 Tiger Eyes
#93 Then Again Maybe I Won’t
•Judy Blume’s books
are often banned for
•sexually explicit
•profane language
•alcohol references
#92 Taming the Star Runner
Life in a small town
can be as tough as
#91 The Stupids (the series)
Challenged because it
makes parents look like
boobs and undermines
authority (Iowa, Washington)
#90 Ironman (Crutcher)
• Vulgar language
• Sexual content
• Supports “a gay agenda”
(Florida, Texas)
“Don’t join the book burners.
Don’t think you are going to
conceal thoughts by concealing
evidence that they ever
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953 speech
#89 I Saw Esau
• Challenged for being
obscene in Tennesee
#88 The House of Spirits
• Challenged for sexual
(California, Virginia)
• Obscenity (Maryland)
• Pornographic and
defames Catholic
faith (California)
• Immoral & sexually
depraved (California)
#87 Grendel
• Challenged for being
anti-Christian and
vulgar (California)
• Obscene (Utah)
• Profane (Indiana)
#86 Cut
#85 Shade’s Children
• Vulgar
• Obscene
• Educationally
“Books and ideas are the most
effective weapons against
intolerance and ignorance.”
Lyndon Baines Johnson
President of the United States (1964)
#84 Goosebumps (series)
•Graphic content
•Satanic symbolism
•Demonic possession
•Disturbing scenes &
#83 Bumps in the Night
• Supernatural
– séance and a
medium were
#82 Are You There God? It’s
Me, Margaret
•Sexually offensive,
•Sex and anti-Christian
(Minnesota, Alabama,
Arizona, Wisconsin)
#81 Anastasia Again!
• Offensive language
• Underage drinking
• Vulgarity
#80 The Lovely Bones
• Content deemed to
frightening in a middle
Censorship, like charity, should
begin at home; but unlike
charity, it should end there.”
Clare Booth Luce
U.S. diplomat and journalist
#79 The Boy Who
Lost His Face
• Inappropriate
• Profanity and
obscene gestures
• Unsuitable words
• Not age appropriate
(California, New York,
#78 What’s Happening
to my Body series
• Challenged for
“permissive point of
• Objections to how
homosexuality &
masturbation are
• Slang terms
#77 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrne
• Challenged for being
• Vulgarity, inappropriate
#76 Song of Solomon
• Challenged for
containing language
degrading to blacks
• Sexually explicit
• “Filth”
#75 So Far From the
Bamboo Grove
• Challenged due to
violence against
• Distortion of history
“Why should freedom of speech
and freedom of the press be
allowed? …Ideas are much
more fatal things than guns.”
V.I. Lenin
In a Moscow speech, 1920
#74 Junie B. Jones
• Challenged for having
extreme emotions such as
#73 Harris and Me
• Challenged for explicit
#72 Fahrenheit 451
• Censored in Irvine,
California – numerous
students received
copies with words
blacked out
• Censored words
included “hell” and
#71 Draw Me a Star
• Challenged for nudity
#70 Detour for Emmy
• Teen pregnancy
portrayal is cited most
often for challenges
“Fear of corrupting the mind of
the younger generation is the
loftiest form of cowardice.”
Holbrook Jackson, English writer/critic
#69 Deal With It
Deal With It! A Whole
New Approach to
Your Body, Brain, and
Life as a Gurl
• Challenged but
#68 Julie of the Wolves
Challenged for the
following reasons:
• Considered age
• Graphic marital rape
• Attempted rape of a
13 year-old girl is in
the story
#67 Black Boy
Challenged for:
Sexual overtones
Corruptive obscene
#66 Always Running
• Reasons challenged:
– Blatant pornography
– Offensive stereotypes
#65 Speak
Reasons for challenges:
• Depiction of underage
• Sexuality
• Rape
“Censorship reflects a society’s
lack of confidence in itself. It is
the hallmark of an authoritarian
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart,
Ginzberg v. United States, 1966
#64 A Day No Pigs Would Die
• Reasons:
• Bigoted portrayal of
baptists and women
• Violence and hatred
• Animal cruelty
• Murder
• Rape
• Graphic sexuality
• Animal breeding
#63 One Flew Over the
Cuckoo’s Nest
• Pornographic
• Glorifies criminal
• Violence
• Promotes secular
Challenged in
Placentia- Yorba
Linda (2000)
#62 Olive’s Ocean
• Sexually Explicit and
Offensive Language
#61 Rainbow Boys
Challenged for:
• Homosexual content
• Sexually explicit
#60 A Time to Kill
Challenges include:
• Violence
• Profanity
• Graphic rape scenes
“I may disagree with what you
have to say but I shall defend to
the death, your right to say it.”
Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)
French writer
#59 The Earth, My Butt, and
Other Big, Round Things
• Profanity
• Sexual references
#58 Fat Kid Rules the World
• Profanity
• Drug use
• “Laced with
language and other
mature content”
#57 Roll of Thunder,
Hear My Cry
Racial bias
Racial slurs (“N” word)
Age inappropriate
#56 The Things They Carried
• Profanity
#55 The Fighting Ground
• Violence
“Censorship of anything, at any
time, in any place, on whatever
pretense, has always been and
always be the last resort of the
boob and the bigot.”
Eugene O’Neill
American playwright
#54 Blood and Chocolate
Challenged/Banned for
– Violence
– Sexuality
– Profanity
#53 When Dad Killed Mom
• Anatomical
• Troubled children
• Violence
• Homosexual
#52 The Upstairs Room
Challenged for
profanity complaints
#51 Summer of My
German Soldier
• Profanity
• Offensive racial
• Gives students bad
view of the world
#50 Mick Harte Was Here
• Inappropriate themes
and language
“Teachers and students must
always remain free to inquire, to
study and to evaluate, to gain
new maturity and understanding;
otherwise our civilization will
stagnate and die.”
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren
Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957)
#49 The Terrorist
• Negative depiction of
Islamic religion
• Anti-Arabs
#48 The Facts Speak For
• Sexuality
#47 The Adventures of Super
Diaper Baby
• Preoccupation with
obscenity particularly
with excrement
#46 Whale Talk
• Profanity
• Racism
• One complaint called
the book “filth.”
#45 Slaughterhouse Five
• Challenged widely
– Foul language
– Negative portrayal of
– Sexual deviance
– Violent imagery
• Banned in Iowa, New
York, Florida
– Explicit sexual scenes
– Violence
– Obscene language
“The First Amendment’s value is
linked directly to its use. To
preserve it, it must be shared.
Unless it is everyone’s, it can be
no one’s.”
Jean Hammond Otto
U.S. journalist
#44 You Hear Me
• Challenged due to
language and content
#43 The Great Gilly Hopkins
• Complaint about
criminal acts with no
• Filled with profanity,
blasphemy and gutter
– Damn
– Hell
– God
#42 Crazy Lady
• “Swear words”
– Damn
– Hell
– Bitch (used 5 times)
#41 Daughters of Eve
• Removed for:
– Promoting risky
– Violence
– “Prejudicing students
on a number of issues”
#40 Life is Funny
• Banned for having
• “x-rated passage
describing two teens’
first sexual experience
“To prohibit the reading of
certain books is to declare the
inhabitants to be either fools or
Claude Adrien Helvetius, De l”homme, Vol 1, sec.4
#39 Bless Me, Ultima
Vulgar Spanish words
Glorifies witchcraft &
#38 Athletic Shorts
• Challenged/Banned
because it deals with
the following:
#37 Brave New World
Offensive language
Moral content
Negative content
Contempt for religion,
marriage, family
• Adult themes
– Sexuality, drugs,
#36 Blubber
• Objectionable content
• Shows kids cruelly teasing a
• Undermines authority
• Sexual content
• Lacks social or literary value
• “Indecent and Inappropriate
• Language
– “damn,” “bitch”
#35 Kaffir Boy
• Brutal, graphic language
• “Pornographic and
racially insensitive”
• School officials deleted
6 sentences about a
homosexual molestation
scene (Michigan)
“Did you ever hear anyone say
‘That work had better be
banned because I might read it
and it might be very damaging
to me?’”
Joseph Henry Jackson, American critic/writer
#34 Arming America
• Challenged for being
inaccurate and having
an agenda
#33 It’s So Amazing!
A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth,
Babies and Families
• Relocated to the
“Restricted Section”
of the Fort Bend
County Libraries
#32 Angus, Thongs, and Full
Frontal Snogging
• Profanity or Inappropriate Language
• Sexual Content
#31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know
Challenged for:
• Foul language
• Sexual References
(Deer Park,Texas)
#30 Gossip Girl (series)
Challenged for having
mature themes
#29 His Dark Materials (series)
Banned/Challenged due to complaints of:
• Religious viewpoint
– anti-God
– anti-religion
• Alcohol use
#28 In the Night Kitchen
• Challenged for
– Gratuitous nudity
– Desensitizes children
to nudity
– “could lay the
foundation for
(Missouri, Wisconsin,
Illinois, Minnesota,
#27 My Brother Sam is Dead
• Profanity (“bastard”,
“damn,” “hell.”)
• Takes God’s name in
• Inappropriate sexual
• Graphic violence
#26 Snow Falling on Cedars
• Parents complained
about sexual
descriptions and
obscene language
• In Texas, it was
banned after
complaints of racial
slurs and sexually
graphic passages
#25 The Face on the Milk Carton
"Without free speech no search for
truth is possible... no discovery of truth
is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse
of free speech than denial of free
speech. The abuse dies in a day, but
the denial slays the life of the people,
and entombs the hope of the race."
-- Charles Bradlaugh
#24 Beloved
Complaints cited:
• Explicit language
• Violence
#23 To Kill a Mockingbird
• Offensive language
– “damn” / “whore lady”
• Psychological damage
• “Represents
institutionalized racism
hidden under ‘good
literature’ guise
• Racial slurs
• Called a “Filthy, trash
#22 We All Fall Down
Complaints cited:
#21 The Giver
• Banned in California
– Violent and Sexual
• Mature themes (Ohio)
– Sexuality
– Suicide
– euthanasia
#20 Bridge to Terabithia
Numerous challenges
• Profanity
• References to
• Disrespect of adults
“… we must keep and make
available, not just good ideas
and noble ideas, but bad ideas,
silly ideas, and yes, even
dangerous or wicked ideas."
-- GraceAnne A. DeCandido
#19 Catcher in the Rye
Banned frequently for:
• Profanity
• Obscene
• Anti-white
• Excess vulgarity,
• Unacceptable
• Blasphemous
• Centered around
immoral activity
#18 King and King
• Homosexuality
#17 Go Ask Alice
Challenges often cite:
• Explicit sex scenes
• Drug use
• Personally offensive
• Graphic language
• Subject matter
• Immoral tone
• Pornographic
#16 Killing Mr. Griffin
“Disgusting violence”
“Unflattering references to
#15 The Perks of Being
a Wallflower
Parents Against Bad
Books targeted this title
because it contains:
• Profanity
• Descriptions of drug
• Sexually explicit conduct
and torture
#14 The Color Purple
Challenged and Banned often
• Sexual and social
• Troubling ideas about race
• Profanity
• Too Sexually graphic
• “Smut” (Pennsylvania)
• Negative image of black men
#13 Forever
• Parental disobedience
• Pornographic
• Does not promote the
sanctity of family life
• “cast of sex-minded
teens is not typical of
teens today.”
• Sexual content
– Masturbation
– Birth control
#12 The Bluest Eye
Challenged and Banned for
• Sexual content
• Offensive language
• Unsuited to age group
#11 The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn
Banned and Challenged
due to:
• Obscene language
• Racial slurs
• Published in 1884 and
banned in 1885
– "trash suitable only for
the slums"
"A censor is a man who
knows more than he thinks
you ought to.“
-- Laurence Peter
#10 Captain Underpants
• Banned for causing
unruly behavior
#9 Tango Makes Three
• Challenged in
California (2007)
– Homosexuality
“..homosexual story
line that has been
sugarcoated with
cute penguins…”
#8 It’s Perfectly Normal
• Challenged for being
– Too graphic
– “Clear example of
– Too explicit
– Vulgarity
• Banned for discussing
– Intercourse
– Masturbation
– homosexuality
#7 Fallen Angels
• Profanity
• Sexually explicit
• Violence
Parents Against Bad
Books in Schools
targeted the book for
drug abuse, torture
and sexually explicit
#6 Scary Stories
• Too scary
• Too violent
• Shows dark side of religion through
the occult, the devil and satanism
Books won't stay
banned Ideas won't go to jail.
Alfred Whitney Griswold
#5 I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings
• Rejected for use due to
– Graphic depiction of
– Sexually explicit
– Pornographic
– Profanity
– Targeted by the group
Parents Against Bad
Books in Schools
#4 Of Mice and Men
• Banned in Ireland, Indiana, Pennsylvania,
Michigan, Ohio
– Profanity, using God’s name in vain
– Racial slurs
– Sexual overtones
– Morbid and depressing themes
#3 The Chocolate War
• Profanity
• Derogatory slang
for sexual terms
• Homophobic slurs
• Violence
#2 Alice (series)
Challenged frequently for:
•Content best left for parents to discuss
#1 Harry Potter (series)
Banned and challenged for these reasons:
•Encourages students to practice witchcraft
Burned and Banned
• Burned in Alamagordo,
New Mexico (2001) for
being “a masterpiece of
satanic deception
• Anti-family
• Encourages kids to be
• Violence

100 Most Challenged and Banned Books