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Good Reads

Banned & Challenged Books 

Sources on the Web  |  Challenged Books available at WHS
Reference Sources at WHS  |  Nonfiction Titles Concerning Censorship

Internet Sources for Challenged or Banned Books

Banned Books Online
Here is an essay that contains not only lists to books that have been banned or challenged over time, but links to the books in online form.

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom
A link to the site of the major watchdog of intellectual freedom, the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom.

National Council of Teachers of English

100 most frequently challenged/banned books from 1990-1999.
Another ALA Site.

Fight for Harry Potter!
Sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

"A Challenged Modern Library"
Six of the top ten books on the 100 greatest books of all time list - as presented by the Modern Library in 1999 - have been banned or challenged.  Read on for others!

Books Challenged or Banned Elsewhere
Available at WHS

Titles that are included in English curriculum reading lists at WHS are indicated with an "* ".

The following list contains biography, literature, other nonfiction and fiction titles.




Alexie, Sherman

The Absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian.

Offensive (sexual)

Anaya, Rudolfo

Bless me, Ultima

profane and obscene references, vulgar Spanish words, glorifies witchcraft and death

Anderson, Laurie Halse

Speak *

date rape

Angelou, Maya

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (B ANG) *

for sexual references

Atkins, Catherine

Alt Ed

profanities, derogatory slang, sexual references, violence

Atkins, Catherine

When Jeff Comes Home

sexual abuse

Atwood, Margaret

Handmaid's Tale

too explicit, profanity, defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled

Auel, Jean

Clan of the Cave Bear

vulgar, profane, and sexually explicit

Baldwin, James

Go Tell it on the Mountain

recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence and degrading treatment of women

Barron, T.A.

Great Tree of Avalon (trilogy)

Occult themes

Benchley, Peter


sexually explicit

Berendt, John

Midnight in the garden of good and evil: a Savannah story


Block, Francesca Lia

Baby Be-Bop

sexually explicit, vulgar language

Block, Francesca Lia

Witch Baby

profanity, drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct and torture

Blume, Judy


contains profanity, sexual situations, themes that allegedly encourage disrespectful behavior

Blume, Judy

Here's to You, Rachel Robinson

parental objection to 3 words in the text

Blume, Judy

Tiger Eyes

sexual situations, underage drinking, profanities

Bradbury, Ray

Fahrenheti 451

profanity, drinking, violence

Bradbury, Ray

Martian Chronicles

profanity, racism

Brown, Claude

Manchild in the Promised Land (B BRO)

offensive language, violence, degradation of women

Brown, Dan

Da Vinci Code

(Egypt) insults any religion

Brown, Dee

Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee (973.08 BRO)


Burgess, Anthony

Clockwork Orange

objectionable language

Carroll, Lewis

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland *

animals should not use human language

Cart, Michael

My Father's scar


Cervantes, Saavedra

Don Quixote

supporting individual freedom and attacking authority

Chaucer, Geoffrey

Canterbury Tales (821 CHA) - English IV

sexual content

Chbosky, Stephen

Perks of being a wallflower *

date rape scene, profanity

Chopin, Kate

Awakening, The *

no specific reason given in review

Clark, Walter

The Ox-Bow Incident


Cleaver, Eldridge

Soul on Ice

crime provoking, anti-American, obscene, pornographic

Cole, Brock


offensive and inappropriate for middle school

Colfer, Eoin



Collier, James L.

My Brother Sam is Dead


Cooney, Caroline B.

The Terrorist

anti-Arab, anti-Islam

Coville, Bruce

Am I Blue? (813 AM)

sexual identity

Cormier, Robert

Chocolate War

for sexual content and offensive language

Cormier, Robert

Beyond the Chocolate war


Cormier, Robert

After the first death

portrayal of suicide, terrorism and violence

Cormier, Robert


sexual and violent themes

Cormier, Robert


profanity, drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct and torture

Cormier, Robert

I am the Cheese

sexual content, offensive language, humanistic and destructive of religious and moral beliefs and of national spirit

Cormier, Robert


profanity, drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct and torture

Cormier, Robert

We All Fall Down

glorifies alcoholism and violence, sexual situations

Crutcher, Chris

Athletic Shorts (813 CRU)

divorce, violence, AIDS, homosexuality

Crutcher, Chris

Chinese Handcuffs

incest, rape, animal torture, teen drug use, breaking and entering, illegal use of a video camera, profanity, graphic sexual references

Crutcher, Chris

Running Loose

sexual situations

Crutcher, Chris

Whale Talk *

racial slurs and profanity

Dessen, Sarah

Just Listen

too intense for teen readers

Deuker, Carl

On the Devil's Court

for homosexuality and offensive language

Dickens, Charles

Oliver Twist

derogatory references to Jews

Doyle, Arthur C.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

references to the occult and spiritualism

Dreiser, Theodore

An American Tragedy

"deals with low love affairs"

Dreiser, Theodore

Sister Carrie

no reason given

Duncan, Lois

Daughters of Eve

promotes "risky" behavior, violence

Duncan, Lois

Don't look behind you

graphic sexual references and alleged immorality

Duncan, Lois

Killing Mr. Griffin

for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group

Ehrenreich, Barbara

Nickel and dimed: on (not) getting by in America (305.569 EHR)


Eleveld, Mark, ed.

Spoken Word revolution: slam, hip hop & the poetry of a new generation

profanity, sexual references, drugs, mistreatment of women

Eliot, George

Silas Marner

no reason given

Ellison, Frank

Invisible Man

profanity, images of violence and sexuality

Faulkner, William

As I lay Dying

abortion, profanity, masturbation

Ferris, Jean

Eight seconds

gay-positive themes

Fitzgerald, F. Scott

Great Gatsby - English III

profanity, sexual references

Frank, Anne

Diary of a young girl

for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group.

Frank, E.R.


sexual content and profanity

Frank, E.R.

Life is funny

sexual themes

Freymann-Weyr, Garret

My heartbeat

gay-positive themes

Gaines, Ernest J.

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

racial slurs, and stereotyping, scenes of sex, rape and implied incest

Gaines, Ernest J.

Lesson before dying, A - AP Lit

sex, violence and profanity

Garden, Nancy

Annie on My Mind

promotes or encourages the gay lifestyle

George, Jean Craighead

Julie of the Wolves

socialist, communist, evolutionary and anti-family themes

Giles, Gail

Shattering Glass

profanities, derogatory slang, sexual references, violence

Glenn, Mel

Who Killed Mr. Chippendle? a mystery in poems (811 GLE)

inappropriate for 4th graders

Going, K.L.

Fat kid rules the world

sexual language, drug use

Golding, William

Lord of the Flies *

excessive violence and bad language, demoralizing

Gordimer, Nadine

Burger's Daughter

Banned in South Africa, later reinstated

Green, John

Looking for Alaska *

graphic language and sexual content

Greene, Bette

Summer of My German Soldier


Griffin, John

Black Like Me

obscene language

Grisham, John

Time to Kill, A

graphic rape and murder

Guest, Judith

Ordinary People

profanity, graphic sex, teen suicide

Guterson, David

Snow Falling on Cedars

Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

Haddix, Margaret

Don't you dare read this, Mrs. Dunphrey

parental neglect, sexual harassment

Haddon, Mark

Curious incident of the dog in the night-time

pollution of young minds

Hardy, Thomas

Jude the Obscure

no reason given

Hartinger, Brent

Geography Club

sexual situations

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

Scarlet Letter - AP Literature

pornographic and obscene

Heller, Joseph


treatment of women

Hemingway, Ernest

A Farewell to Arms

sex, (Italy) account of battle retreat

Hemingway, Ernest

The Sun also Rises

no reason given

Hemingway, Ernest

To Have and Have Not

no reason given

Hentoff, Nat

The Day they came to arrest the book

inflammatory challenge to authoritarian roles

Herwin, Davida

Time for Dancing

no reason found

Hinton, S.E.


dugs and alcohol abuse

Hinton, S.E.

That Was Then, This is Now

graphic language and subject matter, broken homes

Hitler, Adolf

Mein Kampf (B HIT)

fierce militaristic doctrines


Odyssey (883 HOM) - English I

expressed Greek ideals of freedom

Hosseini, Khaled

The Kite runner

Vulgar language, sodomy rape

Hughes, Langston, ed.

Best Short Stories by Negro Writers (813 - HUG)

immoral, anti-American, anti-Christian, plain filthy

Hugo, Victor

Les Miserables


Huxley, Aldous

Brave New World - English IV

language and moral content (alcohol, drugs, suicide)

Joyce, James

The Dubliners

some passages found objectionable by a printer (1912)

Joyce, James



Kantor, McKinley


political ideas; author was sited by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Kerr, M.E.

Gentle hands

anti-Semitic, drug abuse

Kesey, Ken

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest *

pornographic, glorifies criminal activity, violence

Keyes, Daniel

Flowers for Algernon

sex references

King, Stephen


for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

King, Stephen



King, Stephen


rough language, explicit sex scenes

King, Stephen

Dead Zone

filthy language

King, Stephen

Green Mile

no reason found

King, Stephen


no reason found

King, Stephen

Different Seasons (813 KIN)

sex, prison rape

Kingsolver, Barbara

Animal dreams

sexual references

Klause, Annette Curtis

Blood and Chocolate

no reason given

Knowles, John

A Separate Peace

language, sex

Koertge, Ronald

Brimstone Journals (811 KOE)


Koontz, Dean

Night Chills

explicit sexual incidents

Korman, Gordon

Jake Reinvented

themes of teen drinking, sex, violence

Kovic, Ron

Born on the Fourth of July (B KOV)

un-American, language, sex

Lebert, Benjamin


obscene language

Lee, Harper

To Kill a Mockingbird - English II


L'Engle, Madeline

A Wrinkle in Time

witchcraft & the occult

Letts, Billie

Where the Heart is

graphic violence, obscene language, drug use

Lewis, C.S.

Lion, the witch and the wardrobe

graphic violence, mysticism and gore

Lipsyte, Robert

One Fat Summer

sexually explicit and violent

London, Jack

Call of the Wild

no reason given

Lowery, Lois

The Giver *

issues of drug use, suicide, lethal injections

Lynch, Chris

Extreme Elvin

deals with issues too complex for middles school students

Machiavelli, Niccolo

The Prince (320.1 MAC)

political ideas (1555)

Mackler, Carolyn

Earth, my butt and other big round things

profanity and sexual references

Mackler, Carolyn

Love and other four-letter words

profanity, sex and alcohol

Mackler, Carolyn

Vegan virgin valentine

inappropriate language

Maguire, Gregory

Wicked: the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Sexual content

Malamud, Bernard

The Fixer

 for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;

Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

anti-white racism and violence

Mathabane, Mark

Kaffir Boy

homosexual acts

Mazer, Harry

Last Mission


McCullers, Carson

Member of the wedding

inappropriate for younger students

Melville, Herman

Moby Dick

conflicting with community values

Meyer, Stephanie

Twilight (series)

Age appropriateness, sexual content

Miller, Arthur

Crucible, The (812 MIL) - English III

demon possession, profanity

Morrison, Toni


topics of bestiality, racism and sex

Morrison, Toni

Bluest Eye

strong sexual content

Morrison, Toni

Song of Solomon

racial slurs, sexually explicit

Myers, Walter Dean

Fallen Angles - English I

use of racial epithets, slang terms for homosexuals

Myers, Walter Dean


Derogatory remarks, racial slurs, sexual content

Myracle, Lauren


crude language, sex acts slang terms, alcohol use

Naylor, Phyllis R.

Alice on her way

depiction on sexuality

Nixon, Jean Lowery

Whispers from the dead

Occult themes

Nix, Garth

Shade's Children

vulgar and obscene

O'Brian, Tim

Things they carried, The

no specific reason given in review

Orwell, George

Animal Farm

political theories

Orwell, George

1984 *

pro-Communist, explicit sexual matter

Parks, Gordon

Learning Tree

obscene language lewd behavior, violence

Pasternak, Boris

Doctor Zhivago

(1958) Moscow refused to publish, vilified the author

Paterson, Katherine

Bridge to Terabithia


Paterson, Katherine

Jacob have I loved

moral and religious objections (6th grade)

Paulsen, Gary


profanity, sex

Pelzer, Dave

A Child called It (362.7 PEL)

profanity and violence

Picoult, Jodi

Tenth Circle

inappropriate sexual content

Picoult, Jodi

Nineteen minutes

Foul language, sexual content

Picoult, Jodi

My sister’s keeper

“too racy” for middle schoolers

Pike, Christopher

Die Softly

sex, alcohol

Pike, Christopher

Remember Me

no reason given

Plath, Sylvia

Bell Jar

sexual material, objectionable life philosophy

Pullman, Phillip

His Dark Materials (series)

anti-religious messages

Remarque, Erich M.

All Quiet on the Western Front


Rennison, Louise

Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series)

sexual situations

Reynolds, Marilyn

Detour for Emmy


Rodriguez, Luis J.

Always running

pornographic and obscene

Rowling, J.K.

Harry Potter (series)

promotes the Wicca religion

Salinger, J.D.

Catcher in the Rye *

excessive vulgar language, sexual scenes

Sanchez, Alex

Rainbow Boys

explicit sexual content

Santiago, Esmeralda

When I was Puerto Rican  

sexually explicit

Sebold, Alice

Lovely Bones

too frightening for middle school students

Shakespeare, William

Hamlet - AP Literature (822.3 SHA)

banned in Ethiopia (1978)

Shakespeare, William

Twelfth Night (822.3 SHA)

gay-positive themes

Sinclair, Lewis

The Jungle

socialist views

Sittenfeld, Curtis



Sones, Sonja

What my mother doesn't know

masturbation, sexual fantasy, groping

(Sparks, Beatrice)

Go Ask Alice

for sexual references, drugs

Speare, Elizabeth

Witch of Blackbird Pond 

witchcraft and violence

Steinbeck, John

East of Eden

profanity and sexual references

Steinbeck, John

Grapes of Wrath - English III


Steinbeck, John

Of Mice and Men - English I

profanity, portrayal of Jesus Christ, racist, sexist, derogatory towards the developmentally disabled

Steinbeck, John

The Red Pony

explicit sex, profanity

Stewart, John

America (the book): a citizen's guide to democracy inaction

nudity, disrespect for authority

Stoker, Bram

Dracula - English IV

sexual references

Stowe, Harriett B.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

racial slurs

Strasser, Todd

Give a boy a gun

depiction of school violence

Stroud, Jonathan

Bartimaeus trilogy


Swift, Jonathan

Gulliver's Travels

denounced as wicked and obscene

Tan, Amy

Joy Luck Club

sexually inappropriate

Taylor, Mildred

The Land


Taylor, Mildred

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

racial slurs

Tolkien, J.R.R.

Lord of the Rings (series )


Truman, Terry

Stuck In Neutral

profanity, sexual imagery, violence

Trumbo, Dalton

Johnny Got His Gun

profanity, unpatriotic

Twain, Mark

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

racism, sexism

Twain, Mark

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - AP Literature

racism, derogatory language

Updike, John

Rabbit, Run

sexual references and profanity

Voigt, Cynthia

David and Jonathan

for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group

Von Ziegesar, Cecily

Gossip Girls (series)

no reason found

Vonnegut, Kurt

Cat's Cradle

no reason given

Vonnegut, Kurt

Slaughterhouse Five

strong sexual content

Walker, Alice

Color Purple

sexual and social explicitness

Walker, Kate


gay-positive themes

Wersba, Barbara

Whistle me home

no reason given

Whitman, Walt

Leaves of Grass (811 WHI)

no reason given

Wilder, Laura Ingalls

Little House on the Prairie

derogatory of Native Americans

Wittlinger, Ellen


explicit sexual content and language

Wright, Richard

Black Boy

strong sexual content

Wright, Richard

Native Son

violence, sex, profanity

Yep, Lawrence


frequent use of the word "demon"; pro-suicide

Zindel, Paul


profanity, lying, cheating presented in a humorous light


The Holy Bible

"Lewd, indecent and violent contents"; "contains language and stories that are inappropriate for children of any age, including tales of incest and murder"


Guiness Book of World Records (REF 031.02 GUI)

no reason given


Reference Sources on Banned Books

2001 Banned Book Resource Guide - REF 025.213 DOY
Banned in the media : a reference guide to censorship in the press, motion pictures, broadcasting, and the Internet - Foerstel, Herbert N. - REF 363.3 FOE
Banned in the U.S.A. : a reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries - Foerstel, Herbert N. - REF 025.2 FOE
Censorship in America : a reference handbook - Hull, Mary. REF 363.3 HUL
Encyclopedia of Censorship.  REF 363.31 GRE

Other Nonfiction Titles on Censorship or Banned Books

Censorship : opposing viewpoints.  - 363.3 CEN
Contains twenty-five essays in which the authors debate issues of censorship and freedom of speech, considering whether the right to free speech should be restricted, and discussing censorship as it relates to pornography, schools and libraries, and the arts and entertainment industries.

The Day they came to arrest the book. - AV VHS F HEN
A video based on the book by Nat Hentoff, the film brings the issues of fredom of speech and censorship into clear focus.

Intellectual freedom manual. 6th ed. - PROF 025.2 INT
Explains the meaning of intellectual freedom in library service, presents that texts and historical development of the American Library Association's intellectual freedom policies and guidelines, and includes essays in which the authors discuss intellectual freedom and the law, and how to combat censorship.

The language police : how pressure groups restrict what students learn.   371.3 RAV
Discusses how certain political and educational groups usecensorship to determine what American school children can and should learn and explores the effect this has had on American culture.

Outspoken : free speech stories.  342.7308 LEV
Recounts the stories of twenty people who refused to let their freedom of speech be taken away, exploring the balance between the First Amendment and  other rights.

Parental advisory : music censorship in America. - 306.4 NUZ
Chronicles the history of music censorship in the United States, looking at the efforts of individual citizens, groups, and the government to suppress controversial lyrics and cover art.

Places I never meant to be.  Judy Blume, et al. - 813 PLA
A collection of short stories accompanied by short essays on censorship by twelve authors whose works have been challenged

Pro/con : media.
- 361.1 PRO
Presents two sides to each question.

Teaching banned books : 12 guides for young readers. - PROF 098 SCA
A discussion guide which explains how teachers can effectively teach twelve banned and challenged books while respecting all views; each discussion gide includes a summary of the novel, a pre-reading activity, and an annotated bibliography of related fiction and nonfiction.

Banned Books (series)

Literature suppressed on sexual grounds - 363.3 SOV
Literature suppressed on political grounds - 363.3 KAR
Literature suppressed on religious grounds - 363.3 BAL
Literature suppressed on social grounds - 363.3 SOV

100 banned books : literature suppressed on political, religious, sexual, and social grounds - Karolides, Nicholas J. - 363.3 KAR


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