September 26, 2013 • Cee • Discussion

Well, it’s that time of the year again! Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

(You can read more on the Banned Books website and on ALA)

I pondered about what I wanted to contribute to Banned Books Week. I decided I wanted to do a timeline of Young Adult books that have been banned and challenged. Even to this day, books continue to be banned for ridiculous reasons (which you will see below). It boggles my mind because I’m sure kids have seen and heard a lot worst from movies and music.

These are the young adult novels that have been banned or challenged in the United States. I’ve listed them under the earliest year I could find when they were first banned. I’m well aware that the books might’ve been banned earlier and that there are plenty of YA books I’ve left out, but in the meantime, voila!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher | When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford | Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson | The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins | What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones | Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler | Crank by Ellen Hopkins | Echo by Francesca Lia Block
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan | Lush by Natasha Friend

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky | TTYL by Lauren Myracle | Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer | The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares | Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar | Looking for Alaska by John Green | The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen | Geography Club by Brent Hartinger | Fat Kid Rules The World by K.L. Going
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison | Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson | The Earth, My Butt & Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier | Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez | Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
The Giver by Lois Lowry | Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling | Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume | Deenie by Judy Blume | Blubber by Judy Blume
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous | Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden | A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney | Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor | Harriet the Spy by Louis Fitzhugh
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz | Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson | The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton | The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Forever by Judy Blume | Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess | Lord of the Flies by William Golding


  • This post is dedicated to Claire of Bitches With Books and Kelly of Effortlessly Reading. Without you two forcing me to finish this post, this would’ve been a giant picture of a sad face, tears slowing dripping out of one of the eyes.)
  • A BIG THANK YOU TO JENNA (of Jenna Does Books), who helped me with my title. (It was originally wordy and long, but now, it’s straight to the point.)
  • I apologize for the lack of high quality for some of these decades. The images scaled down on their own accordance. :( )

Were you surprised by any of the books on this banned/challenged list? Have you read any of them?


11 Responses to “BANNED BOOKS WEEK | Banned/Challenged YA Books Through the Decades”

  1. Such an awesome post!! SUPER happy that you decided to do this- I had no clue that some of these books were banned. Eye opening for sure. These banning ppl also seem to be very scared of teenagers having sex- good lot banning the books will do!

    • Cee says:

      YAYYYY. I’m glad you approve! ;D

      Yeah, it’s strange that some of these books are banned or challenged. Teenagers will have sex and do drugs anyway (even without the influences of these books). They won’t stay virgins forever. Lolll. Movies and music is sooo much worst.

  2. I find it really sad that some books are banned from school/library/bookstores etc. In my school though, we can read The Hunger Games as our independent reading. I hope my school recognizes some more young adult titles. I really like the title btw (FREADOM).


    • Cee says:

      Me too! It’s ridiculous. It’s extremely saddening because kids/teenagers are missing out on some great books. These parents who want these books banned are ruining it for kids/teenagers who want to read them.

      Haha. The banner is rather clever. Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for it. It’s from the Banned Books Week website. :)

  3. I’ve read quite a few of these books. I’ll never understand book banning – If you don’t like it, don’t read it. And if you don’t want your kids to read something – tell them not to. Simple as that.

    • Cee says:

      Definitely! Parents should monitor their own kids’ reading, not the whole town/city. They’re just ruining it for the people who want to read it. It’s totally unfair. Kids have more access to vulgar/sexual/obscene things on the internet, movies, and music these days.

  4. Kelly L. says:

    I know about the Eleanor & Park issue, but When It Happens was banned too?! Why? Was it because it had a sex scene in the book + a lady’s man?
    And ugh, what’s it with Crank being banned? EVERYBODY needs to read that book.
    I get why Vampire Academy was banned, I mean, who can just hate Rose? ;D
    Honestly, I don’t really get why The Hunger Games was banned. What’s so bad about it?
    And the Alice books! That was my childhood.
    Awesome post Cee & I’m so glad you finally made it! All that pressure finally paid off huh? (;

  5. I love this! Well, I don’t love the fact books are banned and constantly being challenge but this is such an interesting post, some of these I didn’t even realise we’re banned! Vampire Academy? Ludicrous! I get that these books features “issues” but that isn’t any reason for them to be banned! If parents don’t want their teens reading something, that’s their business but whether they like it or not, teenagers everywhere are dealing and being exposed to things that are happening in these books. Teenagers are going to do what they want to do and banning these books isn’t going to change that. If only they realised this. Amazing post :)

  6. Stacie says:

    Wow I am so shocked that some of these books are banned! Some of them I even had to read for school!!! I totally agree that teenagers are going to have sex no matter what influence is being given. Besides, most teenagers I know don’t even read because they think it’s boring. They get most of their ideas from the media like TV or music as you said. This just boggles my mind. Glad you post this up!

  7. Some of the reasons these people gave are so ridiculous! And yes, I was plenty surprised by the number of books I have seen and deemed as appropriate for readers above fourteen that’s on the list. At least — a very small at least — there aren’t any banned books after 2010, right? (Maybe there are, I’m not sure.)

    1. Eleanor & Park: This is so recent I’m half tempted to go look for the people who questioned its appropriateness and then bash their head against a brick wall so hard, they won’t ever open their eyes again. How’s THAT for teenage violence? *cackles madly* In all seriousness, though, banning ELEANOR & PARK because of dangerously obscene things and sexual content? What, you’ve never heard of teenagers have sex before? Don’t make me bash your head ag–

    2. Thirteen Reasons Why: I’ve heard so much about this book that I’m shocked out of my mind. Who are these people, anyway?

    3. Robopocalypse: Explicit language. Are you fucking kidding me. I bet you’ve probably sworn more times than you can count when you were a teenager.

    4. The Hunger Games: Okay, I am literally rolling with laughter right now, because — SATANIC VIOLENCE. Oh my gosh, where do these people get these hilarious ideas? I want to meet that person right now, take out an Ouija board, and then throw that board at their face. How’s that for satanic violence?!

    5. The Golden Compass: There is NOTHING scary about this book at all. And as far as I can remember, nothing sexual, either, since the protagonist is in her early teens.

    6. Harry Potter: I feel like pulling a TAKEN on the person who “banned” this –>

    7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Can you not read? Do you not see the title in BLOCK LETTERS on the COVER?

    8. Fallen Angels: This was required reading for me. The language is nothing different from other YA books I’ve read.

    9. Bridge to Terabithia: I just can’t.

  8. Sarah E says:

    I cannot believe Harriet the Spy was on the banned list. That’s crazy.

    Well really, most of these have ridiculous reasons for being banned. As a parent, I can’t think of any of these books I wouldn’t want my kids reading. Kids should never be discouraged from reading…EVER.

Leave a Reply