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Censorship and Banned Books   Tags: banned_books, censorship  

Contains information about censorship, including Internet censorship.
Last Updated: Jun 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Read a Banned Book!

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Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
ISBN: 0316013684
2011-Removed from the Richland (WA) school curriculum but later reinstated.
2010: Stockton (MO) School District banned the book due to violence, language and some sexual content.
2008: Removed from Crook County (OR) High School in violation of district policy because the book discussed masturbation. Later returned to the library but banned for classroom use.

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Baby be-bop
ISBN: 0060248793
2009-West Bend (WI). plaintiffs demand the destruction of the book, the mayor's resignation and $30,000 each. The book is "derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people" and that "can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike."

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Child of God
ISBN: 0679728740
2007-Removed from Tuscola (TX) Jim Ned High School because of violence, sexual themes & profanity. A teacher was charged with providing material “harmful to minors” and subsequently placed on paid administrative leave.

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Fanny Hill : memoirs of a woman of pleasure
ISBN: 1840224177
Originally published in 1748 this book was banned in the U.S.A. in 1821 for obscenity, then again in 1963. This was the last book ever banned in the U.S.A

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Freedom Writers Diary
ISBN: 038549422X
2008: Removed from 11th grade English classes at Perry Meridian High School (Indianapolis) while students were still in the process of reading it.

2007: Challenged in Howell (MI) due to sexual themes and profanity.

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Howl, and other poems
ISBN: 0872860175
1957-Copies of the first edition were seized by San Francisco Customs for obscenity; after trial, obscenity charges were dismissed.

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ISBN: 0394823370
1988-Challenged but retained in the Laytonville, California School District on grounds that this book "criminalizes the forestry industry."

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Naked lunch
ISBN: 0802119263
Banned by Boston courts in 1962 for obscenity, but that decision was reversed in 1966 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

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Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America
ISBN: 0805088385
2011-Bedford, (NH) removed from high school reading list because of "obscenities...Jesus-bashing religious bigotry and also some drug promotion." The parents subsequently began home-schooling their child.
2010-Easton (PA) a taxpayer with no children in the schools challenged on the grounds that this book is "political activism” & "promotes economic fallacies, socialist ideas, illegal drug use and belittles Christians."

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Norwegian Wood
ISBN: 0375704027
2011-Removed from Monroe Township (NJ) School summer reading list after a few parents complained about sexual content. The school district apologized for even including the book.

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Rainbow Boys (series)
ISBN: 0689841000
Challenged at Owen-Withee Junior & Senior High School (WI), as pervasively vulgar and objectionable due to gay content. After a review, the book remained in the schools but the superintendent recommended parental permission be required for students who want to check out the book.

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Revolutionary voices : a multicultural queer youth anthology
ISBN: 1555835589
2010-Removed from Rancocas Valley (NJ) schools & the Burlington County (NJ) library system because it appears on a list of books created by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

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Running with scissors : a memoir
ISBN: 0312283709
2010-Hillsborough County/Tampa (FL) parents objected to this title on the English AP reading list. Out of nine high schools, two banned the book outright, and the other seven either required parental consent to read it or placed a “Mature Reader” label on the front cover.

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Tropic of Cancer
ISBN: 0802131786
Banned in the U.S.A in the 1930s until the early 1960s, seized by US Customs for sexually explicit content and vulgarity. The rest of Miller's work was also banned by the United States.

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Water for elephants : a novel
ISBN: 1565125606
2011-Bedford (NH) removed from the high school's elective intersession classes over concerns about sexual content.


Read a Banned Book!

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Age of Reason
ISBN: 1438500556
In 1795, founding father Thomas Paine was considered blasphemous for his wholesale attack on the Bible. Written in a deliberately flippant manner, Paine condemned the Old Testament as being filled with "obscene stories and voluptuous debaucheries", claimed the New Testament was inconsistent, and the Virgin Birth merely "hearsay upon hearsay." Despite the book's plea for religious tolerance, it was a frequent target for censors.

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Anastasia Krupnik (Series)
ISBN: 0440408520
Removed by the school's principal, and later returned to the Roosevelt Elementary School library in Tulare (CA). (1986) with the word "shit" whited out. Challenged, but retained, in the Wichita, Kans. public schools (1991) because it was offensive. Removed from, but later returned to, the Stevens Point, Wis. Area School elementary recommended reading list (1992) due to the book's profanity and occasional references to underage drinking. Removed from the Cayce-West Columbia, S.C. School District's Congaree Elementary School library (1998) because of Lowry's use of a vulgarity for human waste, as well as the use of a slang term for sex.

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Annie on My Mind
ISBN: 0374400113
In 1993, the Olathe, Kansas school system ordered all copies of this book removed from high school library shelves and the book was burned on the steps of the Kansas City, Kansas school board building because of its positive portrayal of two girls who fall in love.

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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
ISBN: 0027109917
Challenged and restricted in Mont Belvieu, Texas (1996) for "setting the wrong standard for teaching about growing up and sexuality."

Blume has five books in the top 100 frequently challenged books. Other titles include Blubber, Deenie, and Forever.

Author's comments: "When Margaret was published in 1970 I gave copies to my children's school but the books never reached the shelves. The male principal decided they were inappropriate because of the discussion of menstruation. Then one night the phone rang and a woman asked if I was the one who had written that book. When I replied that I was, she called me a communist and hung up."

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ISBN: 1400033411
Challenged at the St. Johns County Schools in St. Augustine, Fla. (1995). Retained on the Round Rock, Tex. Independent High School reading list (1996) after a challenge that the book was too violent. Challenged by a member of the Madawaska, Maine School Committee (1997) because of the book's language. Challenged in the Sarasota County, Fla. schools (1998) because of sexual material.

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Bloods- A Personal History of Viet Nam
ISBN: 0345311973
Banned in Spring Hill, Florida (1987), because it "presents a moral danger to students."

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Bridge to Terabithia
ISBN: 0060734019
The Newbery Award-winning book was challenged as sixth grade recommended reading in Lincoln, Nebr. schools (1986) because it contained "profanity" including the phrase "Oh Lord" and "Lord" used as an expletive.
Challenged in:
Harwinton & Burlington, Conn. schools (1990)
Apple Valley (CA) Unified School District (1992) Mechanicsburg (PA) Area School District (1992) Cleburne (TX) Independent School (1992)
Gettysburg (PA) schools (1993)
Medway, Maine schools (1995)
Oskaloosa, Kans. (1993) led to the enactment of a policy requiring teachers list each profanity and the number of times used in the book and forward the list to parents, who must grant permission for children to read the material.

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Catch 22
ISBN: 0684833395
Banned in Strongsville, Ohio, 1972 for being "completely sick" and "garbage." (overturned in 1976).

Challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974; Snoqualmie, Washington, 1979.

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Chocolate War
ISBN: 0394828054
The most frequently challenged book during 1998.

Removed from:
2007-Harford County (MD) Public Schools
1986-Panama City (FL) Schools and Libraries
1986-Stroudsburg (PA) High School Library
1985-Liberty High School, Westminster (MD)

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Fallen Angels
ISBN: 0545055768
The story about young men caught up in the Vietnam War has been challenged and removed from school libraries due to racism, offensive language and violence.

2006- Removed from the Blue Valley School District's (KS) high school curriculum
2004-Banned at the Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis (IN) because of profanity.
2003-Challenged in Fairfax (VA) by Parents Against Bad Books in Schools for "profanity & descriptions of drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct & torture."
2001-Challenged, but retained in Arlington (TX) junior high school libraries.

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Final Exit
ISBN: 0385336535
Translated into 12 languages, but is banned by law in France.

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Flowers for Algernon
ISBN: 0156030306
Nebula Award winner for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1966 & #43 the 100 Most Challenged Books List, the book has been has been banned in Plant City, Florida; Emporium, Pennsylvania; and Glen Rose (Arkansas) High School. It has been challenged by Oberlin (Ohio) and Glenrock (Wyoming) High Schools for its "distasteful love scenes."

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Go Ask Alice
ISBN: 1416914633
Number 23 of the list of frequently challenged books.

Challenged in 2008 as a reading assignment at Hanahan Middle School in Berkeley County (SC) because of blatant, explicit language using street terms for sex, talk of worms eating body parts, and blasphemy.

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Grapes of Wrath
ISBN: 0142000663
Since 1939, it has been burned, barred, banned, challenged, and placed on restricted use for "vulgar language" and characterization.

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Heather Has Two Mommies
ISBN: 1555835430
Removed: Cottage Grove, Oregon Head Start Center, 1995.

Fayetteville, North Carolina: "In October, 1992, a Right to Life member objected to the book's presence in the county library ... the objector admitted that she had never seen the books, but said 'anything that promotes or teaches homosexuality is decaying the minds of children.'"

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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
ISBN: 0452268060
2007-Removed from Johnston County (NC) due to sexual content.
2005-Fayetteville (AR) parents want to remove this book and 54 others due to profane language, teen pregnancy, and depictions of sexuality; accused the librarians and others of promoting a "homosexual agenda".

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
ISBN: 0375507892
Challenged: Carrol School in Southlake, Texas (1995). Deemed "pornographic" and full of "gross evils."

Removed from the Southwood High School Library in Caddo Parish, Louisiana (1995) for "objectionable language and content. Eventually, the book was returned after students protested.

Challenged: Westwood High School, Round Rock, Texas, 1994 because the book "is pornographic, contains profanity, and encourages premarital sex and homosexuality.

Challenged: Alabama State Textbook Committee, 1983. Considered "dangerous" because it preaches "bitterness and hatred against whites."

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James and the Giant Peach
ISBN: 0375814248
Challenged in Hernando County, Florida (1992) because of references to snuff, tobacco and whiskey. Removed from an elementary school in Charlotte Harbor, Florida, for being inappropriate reading for children and from Stafford County, Virgina, schools for encouraging children to disobey adults.

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Julie of the Wolves
ISBN: 0060540958
Awarded the Newbery Medal in 1973, this book is number 38 on the list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. Objections include sexual content, offensive language, violence and being unsuited to age group.

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Kaffir Boy
ISBN: 0684848287
2010-Challenged but retained in San Luis Obispo High School (CA) after complaints about a single page describing boys prostituting themselves for food.
2000-Kearsley, (MI) school officials deleted six sentences about homosexuality because parents were offended.
1999: Removed from Federal Hocking School (Athens, Ohio)

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Killing Mr. Griffin
ISBN: 0440945151
2001--Challenged, but retained in Florida school district because of a parent's objection to the book's "gruesome details."

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Lady Chatterley's Lover
ISBN: 0141441496
D.H. Lawrence's classic work about a married woman's affair was declared an "obscene and filthy work" that could not be sent through the mail by the U.S. Postmaster General in 1959. The courts disagreed, and it can now be shipped freely.

Banned by U.S. Customs (1929), banned in Ireland (1932), Poland (1932), Australia (1959), Japan (1959), and Canada (1960-1962). Dissemination of Lawrence's novel has been stopped in China (1987) because the book will "corrupt the minds of young people and is also against Chinese tradition.

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Living Bible, The
ISBN: 0842322477
Burned in Gastonia, North Carolina (1981), because it is "a perverted commentary of the King James Version."

Challenged as "obscene and pornographic" : Noel Wien Library in Fairbanks, Alaska (1993)

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Lord of the Flies
ISBN: 0140283331
This book was challenged by Dallas, Texas Independent School District high school libraries (1974); challenged at the Sully Butes, S. Dak. High school (1981); challenged at Owen, N.C. High school (1981) because it is demoralizing and implies that man is an animal. It was also challenged at the Olney, TX. Independent School District (1984) because of “excessive violence and bad language.” Many members and parents of the black community challenged the book because of its open use of the word “nigger.” The only school to challenge and retain the book is a school in Bloomfield, N.Y.

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Native Son
ISBN: 006053348X
Challenged: Goffstown, N.H. (1978); Elmwood Park, N.J. (1978) due to "objectionable" language; North Adams, Mass. (1981) due to "violence, sex, and profanity;" Berrian Springs, Mich. High School (1988) because the novel is "vulgar, profane, and sexually explicit;" Challenged in the Hamilton High School curriculum in Fort Wayne, Ind. (1998) because of the novel's graphic language and sexual content.

Removed from Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif. (1998) after a few parents complained the book was unnecessarily violence and sexually explicit.

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Of Mice and Men
ISBN: 0142000671
Banned in:
Syracuse, Indiana, 1974
Tell City, Indiana, 1982
Continental, Ohio, 1980
Oil City, Pennsylvania, 1977
Grand Blanc, Michigan, 1979
Scottsboro, Alabama, 1983

First target of the Knoxville, Tennessee School Board chair (1984), who vowed to have "filthy books" removed from the public schools.

Considered "dangerous" because of profanity and "vulgar language."

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ISBN: 0385333846
Considered "dangerous" because of violent, irreverent, profane and sexually explicit content.

2011-Placed in a "secure section" requiring parental permission in Republic, MO school libraries
1973- Burned in Drake, NC
1984-Barred from purchase by Washington Park High School, Racine, WI

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The Giver
ISBN: 0440237688
Winner of the Newberry Award for young adult fiction. Temporarily banned from Bonita Unified School District (CA) after parents complained that violent and sexual passages were inappropriate for children. Restricted to students with parental permission at the Columbia Falls, (MT) schools because of themes of infanticide and euthanasia.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
Considered "dangerous" because of profanity and undermining of race relations.

Challenges: Warren, Indiana, township schools, 1981; Eden Valley, Minnesota, 1977 (temporarily banned); Vernon Verona Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; Waukegan, Illinois, School District, 1984; Kansas City,
Missouri, junior high schools, 1985; Park Hill (Missouri) Junior High School, 1985.

Protested by African American parents and NAACP in Casa Grande (Arizona) Elementary School District, 1985.

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Twelfth Night
ISBN: 0743482778
Includes a number of romantic entanglements including a young woman who disguises herself as a boy.

The Associated Press reported in March 1996 that Merrimack, New Hampshire schools had pulled Shakespeare's book from the curriculum after the school board passed a "prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction" act.

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Twilight Series
ISBN: 0316031844
2008-Removed by the district’s instructional materials specialist and later reinstated in the middle school libraries of the Capistrano, (CA) Unified School District (2008).
2009-Challenged at the Brockbank Junior High in Magna, Utah by a parent over sexual content in the fourth novel, Breaking Dawn.

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ISBN: 0679600116
Banned by U.S. Customs Service for 15 years on the grounds that it was obscene. In 1933, the ACLU won a major legal victory that forced the U.S. Customs Service to lift its ban.

"Given its long history of censorship, Ulysses has rarely been selected for high school libraries."
Judith Krug, director, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 1986.

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Wrinkle in Time, A
ISBN: 0374386137
A Newbery Book Award Winner repeatedly challenged for promoting New Ageism.

Challenged in Polk City, Florida (1985) for "promot[ing] witchcraft, crystal balls, and demons."


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