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One of literature’s best qualities is its ability to start difficult conversations. But at Writer’s Relief, we know that very same quality has led to books being challenged or even banned. Banned Books Week (September 23-29) celebrates these books and the freedom to make our own choices about what we want to read. The theme for this year’s Banned Books Week is “Banning Books Silences Stories” to fight the censorship of both old and new books. Surprisingly, many of the books being banned today aren’t necessarily new releases, but older classics.
Read One Of These 12 Challenged Books Now
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Now a popular television series, this radical novel imagines a futuristic United States with dire, bizarre consequences for women.
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
This picture book tells the true—and adorable—story of two male penguins who built their own family at the Central Park Zoo.
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Garden’s breakout masterpiece tells the tale of two teenage girls falling in love against the backdrop of 1980s New York City.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
After witnessing the police shooting of her friend, this book’s Black narrator is drawn to a life of activism. This winner of the 2017 National Book Award will soon be a movie released in theaters.
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
A graphic novel in the style of a comic, this book follows a seventh-grade theatre lover, Callie, and has been widely challenged for its inclusion of LGBTQ characters.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
A young girl who was raped and killed watches her friends and family members from the beyond as they struggle to solve her murder—and move on with their lives.
1984 by George Orwell
Originally published in 1949 as a dystopian tale of a dark future, this controversial tale of an all-powerful government is still chillingly relevant.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Picoult forces readers to question how to be a “good” family member and human being, telling the story of a young girl whose parents want her to donate a kidney to her sick sister.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The nine-year-old narrator of this novel lost his father on 9/11 and, after finding a key that belonged to him, goes on a journey to find what it opens—and to find closure.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
In Rowell’s debut novel, dual narratives tell the story of two teens falling in love through music and comic books.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney
This coming-of-age graphic novel tells the story of Junior, who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation, yet decides to attend an all-white public high school.
George by Alex Gino
Fourth-grade George knows she’s a girl—but no one else does, and her teacher won’t let her try out for a role in the class play because of her sex.
QUESTION: What banned book has changed your life?