This read feed will take up a challenge, to read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country, so we'll be using the United States. For this list, I referred to lists put out by the American Library Association (ALA). You can find lists of frequently challenged books by decade, year, or genre here.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA)
Junior is part of the Spokane tribe and lives on the reservation (rez) with his family. When Junior decides to leave the school on the rez for an all-white high school, he knew it was going to be a shock, but he wasn't prepared. Between new money issues (he has none), new friend issues (he has some?), and new family drama Junior is in for some changes! Equal parts hilarious and real, this book has been challenged for reasons of being "sexually explicit" to "bullying".
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison's first novel tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, an 11-year-old girl living in Lorain, Ohio, which is also where Morrison is from. In the 1950s, white beauty standards are the only ones advertised, and Pecola prays for blue eyes. This book is probably the title that is most frequently challenged or banned from schools and libraries in the United States, sitting at number 15 for the years 2000-2009 and one of two Morrison books on the ALA most frequently challenged list of 2013-2014.
Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time by Mark Haddon
Christopher John Francis Boone is a logical person. He understands facts and figures: he can name all of the countries and their capitals and can name every prime number up to 7,057. He likes animals but he doesn't understand people and he hates to be touched. When his neighbor's dog is killed, he decides to take on the case. This book has been challenged for explicit language and atheism.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
In her epic two volume memoir, Marjane Satrapi tells the story of her life growing up in Tehran - loving books, getting involved in an underground punk scene, and seeing the Shah abdicate and the ensuing power struggle that happened afterwards. Witnessing the revolution, the war between Iran and Iraq, and how the new government treated Marxists like Marjane's parents gives the reader a memoir that is impossible to put down. Persepolis was removed from the Chicago Public School reading lists in 2013, which caused the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to come to its aid.
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (YA)
Harry and Craig set out to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss - 32 hours. Not only would they be breaking the world record, but they would be the first same-sex kiss couple to hold the title. As Harry and Craig fight fatigue, dehydration, and their own feelings for one another, they are also joined by their family, friends and a Greek chorus of gay men that passed away from AIDS. This book was on ALA's most challenged list for 2015-2016.
Looking to get personalized reading recommendations from DC Public Library staff? Fill out this form and a curated list will get sent directly to your inbox!
Author: Cynthia V.