Banned Books for All Ages

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Banned Books for All Ages

JMRL recognizes the freedom to read by celebrating Banned Books Week, a week to promote intellectual freedoms and to inform people about the problems of censorship in libraries each September. When people try to ban and challenge books from being read, it prevents other people from access to that literature, and prevents them from having freedom to information.

Banned Books Week at JMRL: Events

  • Banned Books Week 2015: September 27-October 3, 2015
Check out displays at your local library highlighting books that have been banned and challenged.
  • Banned Books Week Reading at Tin Whistle Irish Pub at 609 E. Market St. Charlottesville, Virginia
Come read aloud from your favorite banned book to celebrate the Freedom to Read! Check out the lists of banned books below to pick a book that you would like to read a selection from. Then join JMRL at the Tin Whistle Irish Pub to read it aloud.
  • “I Read Banned Books” Photo Booth
September 27 - October 3
Drop by the Central Library during Banned Books Week and take a mugshot with your favorite banned book. Tag your picture #jmrlreads and share to celebrate the freedom to read.

The Top 10 Most Banned Books from 2014-2015:

Below is a list of the 10 most banned and challenged books from 2014-2015. For more information about banned books by year, please visit ALA's list of Frequently Challenged Books

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
  • And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. :Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  • It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it
  • Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  • A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  • Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit

Banned and Challenged Classics

Below is a list of the 25 most banned and challenged classics. For more, please visit

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. 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
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Lolita, by Vladmir 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
  • Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  • 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

Additional Resources

Includes materials selection policy and the ALA Freedom to Read Statement
Many free eBooks, including many banned classics, can be found in full-text version here.