Banned Books

Chevy Chase LibraryStaff Picks

Banned Books

Banned Books Week is observed at the end of September each year, celebrating our ability to freely and openly access information! Here's a list of books that have either been challenged and/or banned due to content. Though challenged, these titles offer diverse ideas and perspectives. Happy Reading!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Ironically, this Sci-Fi (dystopian) novel introduces a society where books are not only banned but destroyed as a means of population control. A series of events causes the main character to question society and his placement within it. 

Reason challenged: This book was banned in several US schools for its "vulgarity" and for using the Lord's name in vain.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (YA)
The author depicts the life of a young girl, growing up in an inner-city community while attending a suburban prep school. The main character Starr endures trauma, to include witnessing the death of a childhood friend; a life lost at the hands of a police officer. This novel explores the inner turmoil endured by Starr and a community’s struggle for social justice. 

Reason challenged: This book was "deemed anti-cop", and challenged for its use of profanity and sexual references.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This autobiographical novel discusses the early years of the late-great writer and poet, Maya Angelou. This book is noted as exemplifying "how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma".

Reason challenged: This book was challenged for its depiction of rape, racism and sexuality. 

The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness by Michele Alexander 
This non-fiction book addresses the mass incarceration of people of color as a form of modern-day slavery.

Reason challenged: This book was banned in several US prisons and deemed as "likely to provoke confrontation between racial groups". 

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn tells the story of America from the perspective of historically marginalized groups, while highlighting many of America's greatest challenges. 

Reason challenged: This book was challenged for depicting America as a rigged system and for failure to examine opposing views.