This post contains affiliate links, please review our Disclosure Policy.

Books on Bookshelf
Image: Marisa Sias

It’s almost time for Banned Books Week 2018, which is September 23 – 29 (in case you were wondering). The theme for this year is Banning Books Silences Stories, and as chairman of the Banned Books Week Coalition, Charles Brownstein says,

Banned Books Week gives everyone a chance to celebrate their story. The courageous students, teachers, librarians, and authors who stand up for challenged ideas remind us that intellectual freedom is our birthright. By creating an event for your community, posting online about the freedom to read, or even just reading a banned book, each person has an opportunity to further that right.

Unfortunately, our freedom to read is under attack and censorship is on the rise. In fact, 2017 brought an increase in the number of attempts to remove books deemed controversial from schools and libraries. Today we are highlighting a few books from the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2017:

And Tango Makes Three Book Cover
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole (Illustrator)
The challengers couldn’t stay away from this children’s book that enjoyed a brief hiatus from the list. This book was banned for featuring, let’s say it together, a same-sex relationship!

Drama by Raina Telgemeier
This #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel was banned in school libraries for daring to include LGBT characters. I know, right. Insert eye roll here.

George by Alex Gino
Reading the premise of the story, it’s obvious that George was challenged because it tells the story of a transgender child. Score another point for transphobia, le sigh.

The Hate U Give Book Cover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
During the year this YA novel debuted, it won multiple awards and was the most searched book on Goodreads. THUG was challenged and banned from school libraries and curriculums because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language. Plus, the book was considered “pervasively vulgar”. I read the book, and these reasons are total B.S.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Although the book was originally published in 2007, its gained notoriety after the premiere of the controversial Netflix series of the same name. The reason for the ban in multiple school districts is obvious, if one is familiar with the book’s subject matter of suicide.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
An American classic and staple on the banned book list due to violence and use of the word, “nigger.” I assume challengers are not fans of context, reflection, or critical thinking.

Your Turn

So…how will you “celebrate” Banned Books Week? How many banned books have you read? Which banned book will you read next? Let us know in the comments! |RL

P.S. Want more Reel Lit? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Reel Literature Digest!


  1. The reasons behind banning these and so many other books just blow my mind. I just want to yell, “Did you even READ the book?” The ultimate irony is when you read about people banning Fahrenheit 451. Crazy.

  2. CG @ Paper Fury

    Ohh I totally didn’t think about how Banned Book week is coming up. Now I want to write a blog post about it ahh! And agreed that banning THUG is all sorts of ridiculousness. I’ve read other YA books that swear just as much or MORE and they’re not banned, so we know there’s other stuff going on there too rghgh. I loved George too! SUCH A good story.

    1. That is very interesting, but it’s really cool that THUG is on your daughter’s summer reading list. I love that kids are getting to read more contemporary books! When I was young, we only read the “classics,” which weren’t always bad, but it’s nice to read something more current books.