The most frequently stated reason for banning a book is that it contains sexual matter unsuitable for children of a particular age. However there are many other stated reasons as well. That is to be expected, given the wide variety of books that have been challenged or completely banned.

It also begs the question of what is the real motivation for banning a particular book. People naturally shy away from admitting their real reason for doing something if that reason would be embarrassing. It becomes immediately obvious when looking at the books banned to date, that the vast majority of them deal with LGBTQ or racial matters. Animosity toward people due to their race or sexual identity cannot be ruled out as a motivating factor in banning these books.

Books banned

There is a vast number of books that have been challenged or completely banned over the years, but these are the ones that have been hit the most during recent times. The classic banned books have their own section below.

We are developing “looks inside the books” for each of these titles so you can see why they were banned, what the book is about, and a little bit about the person who wrote it. They will be posted here when done. If something about a particular book piques your interest, you are invited to read it and tell us what you think about it.

If you have already read one of these books and would like to share your thoughts about it, just skip to the message box below and express yourself. Other readers would like to hear your experience so they can decide if they should read it too, or move on to another book. It all helps!

Banned Books List

Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe

All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M Johnson

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

Flamer, by Mike Curato

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Lawn Boy, by Jonathan Evison

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews

This Book is Gay, by Juno Dawson

Tricks, by Ellen Hopkins

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel, by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault

Sold, by Patricia McCormick

Push, by Sapphire

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

The Infinite Moment of Us, by Lauren Myracle

Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

I Am Jazz, by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel

We Are the Ants, by Shaun David Hutchinson

Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan

Lucky, by Alice Sebold

The Truth About Alice, by Jennifer Mathieu

Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren’t Complicated, I Wouldn’t Be Ruby Oliver, by E. Lockhart

Almost Perfect, by Brian Katcher

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, by Jazz Jennings

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Dear Martin, by Nic Stone

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, by Dashka Slater

Monday’s Not Coming, by Tiffany D. Jackson

It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, by Robie Harris

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera

All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult

The Breakaways, by Cathy G. Johnson

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel

Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts), by L. C. Rosen

Drama: A Graphic Novel, by Raina Telgemeier

This One Summer, by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin

Melissa (George), by Alex Gino

l8r, g8r, by Lauren Myracle

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

Banned Book Classics

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

Ulysses, by James Joyce

The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

1984, by George Orwell

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Native Son, by Richard Wright

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin

All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron

Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence

Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs

Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Women in Love, by DH Lawrence

The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer

Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller

An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser

Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Why Are Books Banned?

The most frequently stated reason for banning a book is that it contains sexual matter unsuitable for children of a particular age. However there are many other reasons as well.

The content of this website is drawn from the banned-books research of historian Sanford Holst


Cloud: banned books, banned books list, classic banned books, list

Readers’ Comments

I’m not sure about some of these books, but I totally stand by people’s right to read them.

— Bill W, New York . .

As a librarian I have always felt our freedom to read what we want is one of the most important things we have in this country.

— Jasmine R, Boston . .