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33 Must-Read Books To Celebrate Banned Books Week

September 21 to September 27 is Banned Books Week. To celebrate, we found a bunch of books THE MAN doesn't want you to read. Fight the power! Read the books!

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1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson


What is so offensive about a kids' picture book about penguin parents? Welllll, those penguin parents happen to be the same sex, which, according to Wikipedia, set off the alarm of many social conservatives in the US. So much so apparently that "the American Library Association reports that And Tango Makes Three was the most challenged book of 2006, 2007, and 2008." Wowza.

3. Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman


When this book came out in 1971, "many regional distributors and bookstores were unwilling to carry the book, citing its subversive nature and the literal encouragement of theft the title provided." (Wikipedia) Fortunately none of that stopped the book from becoming a cultural phenomenon.

15. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway


In 1987 a school board superintendent in Florida, who decided he'd been elected to "restore Christian values to the schools" banned this Hemingway classic, among others. (New York Times) While he may have THOUGHT that was his mandate, a lawsuit brought by parents, teachers and students leads one to believe he may have been wrong.

18. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson


This book is many children's first introduction to death and loss but says it is frequently challenged, "coming in at number 8 on the American Library Association’s list of the 100-most-banned/challenged books for 1990-2000 and dropping only to number 28 for 2001-2009." What's the issue? Apparently adults don't think kids should be learning about death...

19. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison


For an even more recent example of book banning, you only have to go back to 2013 when, as The Wall Street Journal reports, North Carolina’s Randolph County Board of Education "voted 5-2 at its meeting to get rid of all copies of the book" due to “sexual content.”

21. Lord of the Flies by William Golding


Lord of the Flies is a high school staple so it's not a surprise that many high schools have challenged this book. The American Library Association lists 6 occasions from 1974 to 2000 that groups have tried to get this book removed from the curriculum for reasons like "excessive violence and bad language" and "profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled." So, all the reasons kids love this book.

28. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


This post-apocalyptic novel has changed lives with its awesomeness but according to Time: "A Judson, Tex., school superintendent banned the novel from an advanced placement English curriculum after a parent complained that it was sexually explicit and offensive to Christians."

29. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis


If you've read American Psycho you probably won't be surprised to hear that it's been banned, um, frequently. For example, Germany, "deemed the book 'harmful to minors,' and its sales and marketing were severely restricted from 1995 to 2000." And "in Australia the book is sold shrink-wrapped and is classified 'R18' under national censorship legislation" which means kids under 18 can't buy it. (Wikipedia)

30. Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger


You might not think a book about football would be that controversial but then you probably don't live in the town where this book was set. Citizens of THAT town, Odessa, blamed Bissinger for the fact that the publication of Friday Night Lights coincided with an investigation of the team that is the subject of the book for holding illegal off-season practices, which lead to the team not participating in the post season for only the second time since 1980. More, according to Wikipedia: "many residents of Odessa received the book with responses ranging from mild indignation to threats of physical violence aimed at the book's author." They even made shirts that said: "Buzz off, Bissinger."