It’s Banned Books Week, and that means it’s time to celebrate your freedom to read! Though it may surprise you, books are still being banned, taken off library shelves, and pulled from classrooms. Some books seen as outrageous for their time have become accepted, but many still rankle even a century later. There are a variety of reasons people challenge books, whether they don’t like the language used or they don’t approve of the content, but that doesn’t mean these voices should be silenced. Words have power, and that’s exactly why books are important. Books can expose us to ideas we never thought of and can allow us a window into experiences we never had. They build empathy and expand our point of view. Often the books that are challenged are the ones we need the most.
We’ve compiled a—by no means exhaustive—list of some of the books that have been banned or challenged throughout history. Take a look to see how many you’ve read, and if you’re missing some, why not add one to the top of your TBR pile? Give it a read, contextualize, think critically, and discuss it with your book group! Stand up to censorship and open your world!
5. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895)
6. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1931)
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
10 In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966
11. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
13. Grendel by John Gardner (1971)
14. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)
15. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1982)
17. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
18. A Time to Kill by John Grisham (1989)
20. Crazy: A Novel by Benjamin Lebert (2000)
24. Habibi by Craig Thompson (2011)
25. Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk (2015)
Browse more banned books on the American Library Association website.