Celebrate your intellectual freedom. Read a banned book.

Learn more about each book here: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Looking for Alaska, I Hunt Killers, Eleanor & Park, Gossip Girl, The Hunger Games, TTYL, 13 Reasons Why, The Giver, Speak, Hold Still, Whale Talk, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Twenty Boy Summer, Boy Meets Boy, Living Dead Girl, Fallen Angels, Vampire Academy, The Supernaturalist, A Wrinkle In Time.

For more fun lists and all things YA lit, visit our website, follow us here and on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Based on the ALA’s Banned & Challenged Classics list, which can be found here: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
12. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
13. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
14. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
15. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
16. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
17. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
18. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
19. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
20. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
21. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
22. Native Son, by Richard Wright
23. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
24. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
25. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
26. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
27. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
28. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
29. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
30. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
31. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
32. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
33. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
34. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
35. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
36. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
37. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
38. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
39. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
40. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
41. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
42. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence


Join the movement to ban Valhalla by Ari Bach! A novel is nothing these days until it’s been banned from at least one school, library or book club. Harry Potter has been banned for perceived satanism, Looking For Alaska for sex and language, Hunger Games for violence. Valhalla has all of these and more and dang it, it deserves a ban. Please help send Valhalla to the ranks of the forbidden and write your local hate groups, PTAs and other moral policing organizations!

Valhalla features:

  • 34 fucks, 24 shits, 11 craps and 5 bitches!
  • A frequent masturbator, common nudity and an instance of sex!
  • Countless acts of bloody violence!
  • Lesbian main characters! Warn your local homophobe!
  • Even more instances of gory violence!
  • A joke about balls!
  • Violence using bombs, knives, microwave guns and a walrus!
  • A guy who does drugs!
  • A surgically modified drill penis!
  • Numerous occult references!
  • A torture scene!
  • Casual blasphemy!
  • Cannibalism!
  • Militarism!
  • Sadism!
  • Philosophy of a grievously deviant nature!

Come on people, if they can ban Where’s Waldo for nudity, if they can ban James and the Giant Peach for the word “ass,” if they can ban Captain Underpants and Lord of the Flies for being age inappropriate, If they can ban Bridge to Terabithia and The Golden Compass for being anti-religious, if they can ban The Giver and The Most Dangerous Game for violence,  damn it if they can ban Anne Frank for being bisexual then by God we can ban Valhalla!

Valhalla by Ari Bach: BAN THIS BOOK!

“Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Books are weapons in the war of ideas”, 1941 - 1945

From the series: World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945

Banned Books Week is September 21 - 27, 2014


This year’s Banned Books Week is officially September 21-27, but we Seattle-ites have been celebrating banned and challenged books all month long. Some of our favorite books happen to be frequently challenged titles (funny how that happens, isn’t it?), and we love a good opportunity to celebrate both freedom of speech and a great story. See below for some of the banned/challenged books we’re sharing in our Children’s Book department as well as the reasons they were banned. (Also check out the American Library Association website for more frequently banned titles by decade.)

- And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group.

- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit.

- Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, anti-family content, violence, unsuited for age group.

- Bone (series) by Jeff Smith. Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence.

- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. Reasons: unsuited to age group, violence.

- The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials trilogy) by Philip Pullman. Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence.

- ttyl by Lauren Myracle. Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.

- Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher. Reasons: homosexuality and offensive language.

- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.


It’s Freedom to Read week! Did you know that these books were once banned?

The Crank Trilogy by Ellen Hopkins

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tweak by Nick Sheff

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. By Judy Blume

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Learn more.

“Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”
Stephen Chbosky

Banned Books Week:

In 1865, Whitman lost his job as a clerk with the Department of the Interior, when his supervisor found the annotated copy, on display, among Whitman’s possessions at work.

Happy Banned Books Week (September 21 - September 27, 2014)!

According to the ALA, the most frequently challenged books written by People of Color from 1990 - 1999 are (unfortunately they don’t have a PoC-specific list list for 2000 and onwards):

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Reason for challenges: racism, homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, offensive language, violence

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Reason for challenges: homosexuality, sexually explicit

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, offensive language

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Reason for challenges: racism, offensive language, violence

Beloved by Toni Morrison
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, violence

Native Son by Richard Wright
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, offensive language, violence

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, offensive language

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, offensive language, occult/Satanism

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Reason for challenges: racism, sexually explicit, offensive language

Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Reason for challenges: sexually explicit, offensive language

2004 - 2014 Yearly Challenged/Banned Books lists can be found here

Special shout-out to:

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; and Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya for being on the list of top ten books banned/challenged in 2013 for collectively having/being: offensive language, sexually explicit, violence, drugs/alcohol/smoking, racism, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group! [source here]

Happy reading! Any banned or challenged books by authors of color that you think we should check out?

Also, why don’t they just rename it Toni Morrison Week, amIright?