banned books

Reading for Banned Book Week

In honor of Banned Book Week, let’s all read a book on the list! Thank you to Allison of No Time for Flashcards for this link!


Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011-2012

Information on why the book is banned or challenged excerpted  from The Daily Beast.

1. TTYL series by Lauren Myracle

The first book in the series, “TTYL,” was banned from a town in Texas in 2008, after parents complained about the sex and profanity in the book. But author Lauren Myracle seems unfazed by the controversy. “My favorite comments come from girls who say, ‘I feel like you’ve given me a self-help book because my parents won’t talk about this.’ When I was a kid, I read Judy Blume to figure out what a hard-on was and what to do when you got your period, so when people say to me, ‘You’re this generation’s Judy Blume,’ I am wildly honored by that,” she says.

2The Color Of Earth series by Kim dong Hwa

“The Color Trilogy” is a series of graphic novels about a girl growing up, and many people were troubled by the highly visual depictions of nudity and sex education. 

3. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Complaints about the book were harsh, including that it is anti-ethnic, anti-family, satanic, and violent.

4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! : A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy (Concept Book) by Dori Hillestad Butler

It’s designed for children whose mothers become pregnant again. But it seems some parents thought it was a bit too graphic.

5. The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

It is included on the list and made it again this year largely because of racism and offensive language. Alexie rebuts, “I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book.”

6. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

This makes the list for nudity and profanity.

7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

At one point it was outlawed for making promiscuous sex “look like fun.” Sex played a role this year as well, but complaints also included insensitivity, nudity, and racism.

9. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

One poem in the book, “Ice Capades,” seemed to draw ire and criticism from all around. It describes a young girl who holds her bare chest against a cold windowpane to see an “amazing trick.” One angry parent complained to Sones, “Our young people should not have to be exposed to your erotic thoughts and feelings.”

10. Gossip Girls series by Cecily Von Ziegesar

The complaint is its depiction of sex, drugs, and strong language. The author rebuts:  “I always resented books that tried to teach a lesson, where the characters are too good: They don’t swear, they tell their mothers everything. I mean, of course I want to be the responsible mother who says, ‘Oh, there are terrible repercussions if you have sex, do drugs, and have an eating disorder!’ But the truth is, my friends and I dabbled in all of those things. And we all went to good colleges and grew up fine. And that’s the honest thing to say.”

11. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s 1960 classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a frequent target for censors because of its strong language and racism. One ALA official once said of the book’s banning, “To say to young people, even to older people, that you can’t read these materials [is] a travesty because they’re missing out on some of the finest literature written in the U.S.”

Not to mention is it frequently assigned reading in high school!

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

banned books

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I am constantly surprised by the books people want to ban. To them I say, if you don’t want to read it… don’t read it. But it’s not your business if other people want to read it!
    Erica recently posted…Great Easy Reader Books for KidsMy Profile

    • Hi Erica,
      I totally agree with you! I feel the same way about gay marriage, another hot button topic. Why should anyone care of the couple is gay or straight?

      But what I especially love about banned and/or challenged books is that it’s the exact opposite reaction of what the people who try to ban them accomplish. They highlight the books which gives the books attention and make us all want to read them. They should really rethink their strategy — reverse psychology might work better! We all work so hard to get people to notice books we love after all! By telling us to ban a book, it just gives the book credibility and attention!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Reading for Banned Book WeekMy Profile

  2. Here, here, Erica!

    I agree!

    I’ll have to check out the Color Trilogy since I had never heard of it.

    And Sherman Alexie’s book should be required reading–it’s that poweful!

  3. I agree with your comment, Mia – authors probably want to be on Banned Books list nowadays because it increases visibility. I think the whole idea of banning books is completely pointless. Color Trilogy looks interesting for when my daughter is a bit older.
    Natalie recently posted…Can You Hear It – Afterschool Blog HopMy Profile

  4. I don’t see the point of banning books, and I agree that it’s probably net positive publicity for the authors. I think that if a book my child read did concern me, I would focus on having a conversation with my kid about the book rather than writing letters of complaint to authors or publishing houses.
    maryanne recently posted…Afterschooling: Getting to Know RelativesMy Profile

  5. I’m not surprised that Hunger Games Trilogy is in the list. Why that trilogy is really barbaric. Reading the books and watching the movies made me feel depressed.
    Christopher James recently posted…The Tao of BadassMy Profile

    • Hi Christopher,
      Hunger Games was too violent for me but my two girls loved it. I asked my fourth grader to wait to read it but she read it anyway and quite a few of her classmates did too. Even a few 3rd graders read it and enjoyed it. But … I still think it’s too violent for me but I’m sure my youngest will read it in a few years as well. I’m glad I’m not the only adult who found it barbaric.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Reading for Banned Book WeekMy Profile

  6. This is an awesome list! I especially love the quotes from Lauren Myracle and Cecily Von Ziegesar. Books like theirs are banned for talking about things that girls are already talking about!
    Katie recently posted…Picture Books for HalloweenMy Profile

    • Hi Katie,
      I agree with you that it’s ridiculous to ban books on topics that girls are already talking about. Banning books in general just seems like such a strange concept in our country where we have freedom of speech! Do those adults who try to ban books realize that they are actually giving those very books they disagree with a PR spotlight? I’m glad for that since the book list of challenged books is quite an excellent one. I’d rather people ban books that simply are really terribly written and illustrated books with no reading merit to speak of.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Exercise: A Small Change for a Big DifferenceMy Profile

  7. Ann

    I would love to keep my kids innocent as long as possible but the reality is they are curious and I would rather know about what they are reading and have discussions about it than have them read it unknown to me and feel some sort of shame over it.

    Maybe I will take this opportunity to read the Hunger Games and the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Two I have wanted to read.
    Ann recently posted…Souper!My Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      I hear you! I think you might like And Tango Makes Three which is a picture book that was banned/challenged because it’s about two Penguin males who raise a baby penguin and it’s a true story! It will still keep your kids innocent while delving into this banned/challenged book world. There are actually a lot of banned picture books that you would scoff at why they would be banned.

      In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
      Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
      The Family Book by Todd Parr
      Where’s Waldo
      The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
      The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
      Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Domestic Violence Books for KidsMy Profile

  8. Ann

    That sound cute. I love true stories.

    No! Those are some of our favorites! Let’s see Night Kitchen, nudity? Where the Wild Things Are, violence? What’s in Green Eggs and Ham???
    I remember reading Curious George and passing fast over the page with the man in the yellow hat smoking a pipe so I guess I am a little guilty of censoring ; )
    Ann recently posted…Souper!My Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      I am not sure why Green Eggs and Ham was considered an objectionable picture book! Yes, In the Night Kitchen nudity. Where the Wild Things Are — violence?? Is there that much? I think it was more the fantasy that the little boy thought up. It was too magical.

      Censoring is fine. I do that too for my kids but to each his own right? We should all be able to censor for our kids and not have someone tell us what we can’t read to them. I hate that!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Domestic Violence Books for KidsMy Profile

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