Kendi and Jason Reynolds is an essential introduction to the history of racism and antiracism in America RACE. Uh-oh. The R-word. But actually talking about race is one of the most important things to learn how to do. Adapted from the award-winning, bestselling Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, this book takes readers on a journey from present to past and back again. People will discover where racist ideas came from, identify how they impact America today, and meet those who have fought racism with antiracism. Along the way, they’ll learn how to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.Read More
In this Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winning novel, two teens–one black, one white–grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension. A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement? There were witnesses: Quinn Collins–a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan–and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team–half of whom are Rashad’s best friends–start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”Read More
From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless–an outcast–because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her.
Reasons for banning: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity.Read More
Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show . Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Reasons for banning: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation.”Read More
Harper Lee’s classic novel of a lawyer in the Deep South defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.
Reasons for banning: challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.Read More
Two Boys Kissing follows Harry and Craig, two seventeen-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teens dealing with universal questions of love, identity, and belonging.
Reasons for banning: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content.Read More
Set in the near future, it describes life in what once was the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead. Reacting to social unrest, and a sharply declining birthrate, the new regime has reverted to — even gone beyond — the repressive tolerance of the original Puritans. Offred is a Handmaid who may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant because she is only valued as long as her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.
Reasons for banning: banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones.”Read More
Originally published in 1937, it’s the timeless story of George Milton and Lennie Small, ranch hands who drift from job to job, always one step ahead of the law and a few dollars from the poorhouse. George is small, wiry, sharp-tongued and quick-tempered; slow witted Lennie is his opposite-an immense man, brutishly strong but naturally docile, a giant with the mind of a child. Despite their difference, George and Lennie are bound together by a shared vision: their own small farm, where they’ll raise cows, pigs, chickens, and rabbits, where they’ll be their own bosses and live off the fat of the land. When they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, the dream at last seems within reach. If they can just save up a little money. . . . But their hopes, like “the best-laid schemes of mice and men,” begin to go awry.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.Read More
Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Then e created Gender Queer . Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fan fiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: It is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
Reasons for banning: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images.Read More
For Mike Muñoz, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work–and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew–he’s smart enough to know that he’s got to be the one to shake things up if he’s ever going to change his life. But how? He’s not qualified for much of anything. He has no particular talents, although he is stellar at handling a lawn mower and wielding clipping shears. But now that career seems to be behind him. So what’s next for Mike Muñoz?
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.Read More
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.Read More
New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.
Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion–the worst school disaster in American history–as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.
Reasons for banning: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.Read More
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does–or does not–say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.Read More
Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term.Read More
This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death. It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.Read More
This is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove–a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others–who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Reasons for banning: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit.Read More
Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU. Inside you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask: from sex to politics, hooking up to stereotypes, coming out and more. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.
Reasons for banning: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.Read More
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference.
Reason for banning: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.Read More