Naturally, "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James is a top banned book, but what's wrong with "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins? These books and the facts about their bans/challenges were gleaned from an annual list compiled by the American Library Association.

'Thirteen Reasons Why' by Jay Asher


Jay Asher's "Thirteen Reasons Why," published in 2007, resurfaced as a controversial book in 2017 after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. The novel was also challenged in 2012 and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas


Angie Thomas' 2017 young adult novel, "The Hate U Give," was among the most challenged books of the year, despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads. It has been banned in school libraries and curriculums because it discusses drug use and uses profane or offensive language.

'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee


Harper Lee's 1960 novel, "To Kill a Mockinbird" has been frequently challenged throughout school districts since 1966 and as recently as 2017. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, often considered a classic, has appeared on the ALA's top 10 most challenged books in multiple years due to its use of the N-word and depictions of violence.

'And Tango Makes Three' by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's illustrated children's book, "And Tango Makes Three," was published in 2005 and ranked on ALA's top 10 most challenged books in 2006 through 2014 and 2017, because it features a same-sex relationship.

'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' by Sherman Alexie


Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" has been challenged consistently since it's publication in 2007 and, in 2017, was among the American Library Association's top 10 challenged books of the year for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism and sexuality.

'Sex is a Funny Word' by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth


This 2015 informational children's book written by Cory Silverberg, a certified sex educator, was challenged in 2017 because it discusses sex education and is thought to lead children to "want to have sex or ask questions about sex," according to the ALA.

'Drama' by Raina Telgemeier

Credit: Scholastic Inc.

Raina Telgemeire's "Drama" was frequently challenged in 2016 and 2017 because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit and considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.

'George' by Alex Gino

Credit: Scholastic Inc.

Alex Gino's "George" follows the story of a transgender child and was challenged in 2016 and 2017 because of it. It was argued that the "sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels," according to the American Library Association.

'I Am Jazz' by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

"I Am Jazz" portrays a transgender child and, in both 2016 and 2017, had been challenged often because of the language used, sexual education and "offensive viewpoints" it presents.

'This One Summer' by Mariko Tamaki

Credit: First Second Books

Mariko Tamaki's "This One Summer" faced restrictions and was even banned in 2016 for including LGBT characters, drug use and profanity.

Credit: Random House Children's Books

In 2016, David Levithan's "Two Boys Kissing" had been challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

Credit: Image Comics

All three volumes of Matt Fraction's "Big Hard Sex Criminals" graphic novel series have been challenged in 2016 because they are considered sexually explicit.

Credit: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Chuck Palahniuk's "Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread" features 21 stories and one novella that, in 2016, were challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness and being "disgusting and all around offensive."

Credit: Scholastic, Inc.

Bill Cosby's "Little Bill Books" series was among the top challenged books of 2016, as the actor-comedian was accused of sexual assault by more than 60 women. (Cosby was sentenced in September 2018 to three to 10 years in prison after being convicted of drugging and molesting a woman in 2004.)

Credit: St. Martin's Press

Rainbow Rowell's debut young adult novel, "Eleanor & Park," published in 2013, was among the most challenged books of 2016 for containing offensive language.

Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which follows the story of 9-year-old Oskar Schell whose father was killed during the 9/11 terror attacks, was removed from a Mattoon, Illinois, high school curriculum in 2015 because of "its use of lewd and possibly offensive materials," according to the American Library Association.

Credit: Aladdin

In 2015, Cheryl Kilodavis' children's book "My Princess Boy" was challenged in the Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas, for allegedly promoting "perversion" and the "gay lifestyle."

Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Judy Blume's "Forever..." deals with teenage sexuality and birth control, and because of its content, has been on American Library Association's list of "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" from 2000 through 2009.

Credit: Scholastic Inc.

Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories" series was the American Library Association's most challenged book of 1990 through 1999. On the list of most challenged books of 2000 through 2009, it had dropped to the seventh spot. Complaints about the book vary, but mainly parents and teachers have said that children are disturbed by the graphic stories and imagery throughout all three books in the series.

Credit: Penguin Publishing Group

John Steinbeck's 1937 novel, "Of Mice and Men," has been on the American Library Association's list of "100 most frequently challenged books" from 1990 through 2009. It has been challenged for a variety of reasons mostly stemming from it's use of racial slurs, profanity, violence and lack of "traditional values."

Credit: Scholastic, Inc.

The first installment in Suzanne Collins' wildly popular "Hunger Games" trilogy (turned into an equally successful film series) made the ALA's yearly list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books, first in 2010 and again in 2013. Its challengers cited violence, sexually explicit content and religious viewpoint as reasons, and have claimed it's unsuitable for certain age groups.

Credit: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner was challenged at two schools over the past two years -- in 2012 at Salem High School in Salem, Michigan (where complainants called some passages "obscene"), and in 2013 at schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, because a parent complained about "scenes of bestiality, gang rape and an infant's gruesome murder" in the novel.

Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

This 2006 Printz Award winner for young adult literature was banned as required reading for Sumner County, Tennessee, schools for its "inappropriate language," first in 2012, then again the following year. In 2015 and 2016, it made the list again.

Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

An Erie, Illinois, elementary school banned this children's book in 2012 because of its line "some families have two moms or two dads."

Credit: SouthWest Organizing Project

In the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona, where more than 60 percent of students have Mexican-American heritage, the school board removed this and other "offending" books in 2012 when it dismantled its Mexican-American Studies program. Activists plan to appeal a federal court's ruling that upheld most provisions of the Arizona state law used to prohibit the curriculum.


In the 2013 school year, students at Housel Middle School in Prosser, Washington, had to have parental permission to check out this best-selling memoir because of its graphic nature of child abuse described by the author.

Credit: MTV Books

The beloved coming-of-age story that talks of drugs, alcohol, sex, homosexuality and abuse was challenged as assigned reading at Ohio's Grandview Heights High School in 2004, 2006-2009, 2013 and 2014.

Credit: Penguin Publishing Group

This critically acclaimed story about a boy growing up in the Middle East was challenged -- in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2017 -- in multiple school districts because of a graphic rape scene and profanity. Additionally, the book was thought to "lead to terrorism" and "promote Islam."

Credit: Picador

This nonfiction account of Tom Wolfe's cross-country road trip and his drug experiences along the way was challenged on the Emmaus (Pennsylvania) High School's 10th-grade summer reading list in 2012.

Credit: Random House Publishing Group

The Emmaus High School in Pennsylvania, in 2012, deemed this coming-of-age story "too mature for ninth-graders," and moved it from the ninth-grade summer reading list to the 12th-grade AP reading list.

Credit: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Complaints from parents in Katy, Texas, about the violent, explicit nature of the book that inspired the 1999 Brad Pitt film led to its removal (in 2012) from the Independent School District's required reading list.

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