Banned and Challenged Books

Throughout history, books have been challenged or banned for various reasons.  This list shows some of the reasons given for why a title was asked to be removed from a library (taken from Banned Books, Robert P. Doyle. REF 098 Banned). Although the library may have material that some find offensive, we believe that free people read freely.

Download a pdf version of this list.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain.
"offensive racial language" Fic Twain, M. 

The Bean Trees. Barbara Kingsolver.
"obscene, course, disgusting, and irreverent" Fic Kingsolver, B.

Beloved. Toni Morrison.
"language... sexual material" Fic Morrison, T.

Brave New World. Aldous Huxley.
"language and moral content" Fic Huxley, A.

Call of the Wild. Jack London.
"burned in Nazi bonfires (1933)" Fic London, J.

Color Purple. Alice Walker.
"troubling ideas about race relations, man's relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality" Fic Walker, A.

Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx.
"communistic message" 335.422 Marx

Doll's House. Henrik Ibsen.
"propagates feminist views" 839.72 Ibsen

Go Tell it on the Mountain. James Baldwin.
"profanity and explicit sex" Fic Baldwin, J.

Harry Potter. (series) J.K. Rowling.
"encourages practice of witchcraft... depictions of magic... the author is a member of the occult" Fic Rowling, J.

House Made of Dawn. N. Scott Momaday.
Pulitzer Prize winner. "sexually explicit"  Fic Momaday, N.

House of the Spirits. Isabel Allende.
"immoral and depraved" Fic Allende, I.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Julia Alvarez.
"profanity... descriptions of drug abuse... sexually explicit conduct, and torture" Fic Alvarez, J.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Maya Angelou.
"gross evils" B Angelou, M.

A Lesson Before Dying. Ernest Gaines.
"sex, violence and profanity" Fic Gaines, E.

Lord of the Flies. William Golding.
"Demoralizing" Fic Golding, W.

Manchild in the Promised Land. Claude Brown.
"filth and obscenity" 305.896 Brown, C.

Milagro Beanfield War. John Nichols.
"offensive material." Fic Nichols, J.

Native Son. Richard Wright.
"graphic language and sexual content" Fic Wright, R.

Never Cry Wolf. Farley Mowat.
"offensive language" 599.773 Mowat

Odyssey. Homer.
"Caligula tried to suppress it because it expressed Greek ideals of freedom" 883 Homer & 883.01 Homer

Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck.
"vulgar language... racial slurs" and, with regards to the author, "questionable as to his patriotism" Fic Steinbeck, J.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Kesey, Ken.
"promotes secular humanism" Fic Kesey, K.

Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut, Kurt.
"vulgar and offensive" Fic Vonnegut, K.

Snow Falling on Cedars. David Gutterson.
PEN/Faulkner award winner. "racial epithets and sexually graphic passages" Fic Gutterson, D.

To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee.
"represents institutionalized racism under the guise of 'good literature'..." Fic Lee, H.

Ulysses. James Joyce.
"Burned in the U.S. (1918), Ireland (1922), Canada (1922), England (1923)" 807 Joyce

Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do. Studs Turkel.
"profane language" 331.2 Terkel