Reading List – Challenged Books I’ve Read and Loved


When I was younger and before I went to college to become a librarian, I was always confused by Banned Book Week. I never understood why all these “banned” books were put on display in my public or school library. I mean if they are banned doesn’t that mean they are not allowed, and don’t we live in a democracy?

Books celebrated during Banned Book Week are not banned universally but may have been challenged and removed from a library collection somewhere for some reason. Below is a link to some of my favorite books, banned, challenged, or not and I wanted to share them with you and your patrons/students. Curiously, 8 out of 10 of these books are also award winners as noted by CLCD. Read these and enjoy your freedom to make your own judgements.


If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss If I Ran the Zoo
By: Dr. Seuss

Gerald McGrew dreams up his own zoo and how he would stock it. Not with old-fashioned animals, but with exciting new ones–a lion with 10 feet, an elephant-cat, and a family of Joats with squirrel-like coats and voices like goats. Ages 4-8

And Tango Makes Three
By: Justin Richardson

At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches. Based on a true story. Ages 4-7

Paper Towns
By: John Green

One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q’s neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears. Ages 14-18

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Speak
By: Laurie Halse Anderson

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school. Ages 12 and up

By: Chris Crutcher

When he is given the medical diagnosis of one year to live, Ben Wolf decides to fulfill his greatest fantasies, ponders his life’s purpose and legacy, and converses through dreams with a spiritual guide known as “Hey-Soos.” Ages 14-18

Hop On Pop by Dr. Seuss Hop on Pop
By: Dr. Seuss

Uses a series of short words that rhyme in situations that stimulate reading skills and develop the ability to associate words and actions. Ages 3-7

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
By: Emily M. Danforth

In the early 1990s, when gay teenager Cameron Post rebels against her conservative Montana ranch town and her family decides she needs to change her ways, she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center. Ages 14-18

Eleanor and Park
By: Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. Ages 13-18

A Prayer for Owen Meany
By: John Irving

While playing baseball in the summer of 1953, Owen Meany hits a foul ball that kills his best friend’s mother, and he becomes convinced that he is an instrument of God. Ages 14 and up

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
By: Sherman Alexie

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Ages 14-18


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