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Reading Prompt Recs: Banned Books

Hey, Booknerd Backlist Challenge readers! This post is part of my series of reading prompt recommendations for those of us who are a tiny bit stumped on what to read. I’m sharing TBR suggestions for all of the prompts that I can (except for those like the “recommended by a friend” or “read during our Summer readathon”). Today’s list is all about banned books (one of my favorite topics to talk about). So grab your notebook or reading tracker app and let’s get to it!

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What is a banned book?

For anyone who (like the me from a few years ago) might be confused about what a banned book is, here is a quote from Britannica.com that I think sums it up pretty well.

“Book banning, the practice of prohibiting or restricting the reading of certain books by the general public or by members of a local community or religious group. Books can be banned by means of their removal from publicly accessible locations (e.g, libraries), by their destruction (including the burning of printed books), or by making their authorship or distribution a punishable act. Books are typically banned by governments, but they can also be effectively banned by religious authorities, businesses, and – in rare cases – powerful private individuals.”

Source: Britannica.com

Books that are banned can be removed from schools, libraries, and even some bookstore shelves. That is so insane to me! I can’t imagine removing a book from a public place just because I didn’t think people should be reading it.

Banned Books Recommendations and TBR

Banned Books Recommendations from TheBooknerdCopywriter

While I don’t believe in banning books at all, I’m a little surprised how many I’ve read that ARE banned or challenged. And how many banned books are currently on my TBR. I like my spicy romance but I never thought of the books that I read as controversial.

Oh well. I’ve already started reading banned books … no way I’m going to stop now 😉

A few banned books that I’ve read (and recommend!) are:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – I read this one in high school and I don’t remember a lot about it (which is why it’s on my TBR for the Backlist Challenge … it’s time for a reread!). What I do remember is this book being the one that sparked my interest in the dystopian genre.
  • Goosebumps by R.L. Stine – I have no idea why these books are banned but I grew up on Goosebumps and loved them so much! I borrowed most from the library but I’ve already started a collection of them to pass down to the little minions.
  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover – while I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with CoHo’s books (and how she romanticizes domestic abuse), I read November 9 in about a day and a half. It hooked me and and I loved it – like, 5-star loved it!
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I know there are racial issues with this book and the world that it portrays. I absolutely loved To Kill a Mockingbird because of the relationship between Atticus (the dad) and Scout (the daughter).
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – this is one of my top favorite books of all time and I highly recommend listening to the audiobok! I love the characters and the magical world that Laini Taylor builds (and I’m assuming the magic is the reason why it’s banned). What good is an imagination if you can’t express it?

A few banned books that are still on my TBR

Have you read any banned books that you think should be on my TBR?

I’m always looking for book recommendations so if you have any banned books that you think should be added to my list, let me know in the comments!

Happy banned reading, xo!


If you want to learn more about banned books, check out these resources!

While I’ve struggled to find a complete list of all the books that are/have been banned, here are a few resources I’ve found helpful.

The infographic below comes from PEN America, a website that describes itself as standing “at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide.”

School Book Bans by State 2022-2023
Infographic courtesy of PEN America

PEN America is a great resource for finding out which books have been challenged most in schools. Frankly, many of the books on their list surprised me. You can find an Index of School Book Bans for the 2022-2023 school year by following this link (I haven’t yet found one for the 2023-2024 school year).

Unite Against Banned Books graphic
Graphic courtesy of Unite Against Book Bans

Another fantastic resource is the website Unite Against Book Bans. It’s filled with different ways to peacefully protest the banning of books. They have tips for writing letters to newspaper editors, social media graphics that you can share, and ways to report censorship to the ALA. This is the perfect place to go if you want to know what you can do to help!

I also love their graphics because so many of them focus on people telling you what your children can read (by pulling books from libraries and schools). I am a firm believer that parents should be active in their child’s reading life and not pass that off to governments/religious organizations/schools to censor things.

Have the tough conversations with your kids. Don’t ban books because they deal with difficult subjects. Talk. Discuss. Connect.

American Library Association Banned Books graphic

Of course, the most well-known resource is probably the ALA – the American Library Association – and their Banned Books Week. If you missed Banned Books Week this year, don’t worry! It’ll be back next year – September 22-28, 2024!


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    17 Comments

    1. I’m not sure why some of these books are banned it’s kind of crazy to me. I have a lot of the goosebumps ones and I still don’t understand why that series is being banned.

    2. As a parent, your reminder to engage in open conversations with our children rather than relying on censorship resonated deeply with me. I appreciate the resources you provided, particularly those advocating against book bans and promoting free expression.

      1. Thank you! While I understand that children don’t always have someone to advocate for them, mass banning of books doesn’t seem like the answer. I also see it as my responsibility as a parent to have those conversations, not just stop my kids from reading books that could help them see another point of view (or way of life). Thank you for your kind words.

    3. I guess in some cases it makes sense but most times, it’s totally ridiculous – I agree! And it seems to be happening now more than ever. Kind of crazy!

    4. I didnt know Goosebumps series and To kill a mocking bird was banned. I have all the books of Gossebump series and also a hardcopy and PB of To kill a mockingbird. May be its banned in US?

    5. book banning is something i will never get.. people are free to pick and choose the books they want to read but banning books so no one can ever read them – that is beyond my understanding..
      i have read about four of the books on your list.. and I know I have read banned books though I realized they were banned only much later.. so need to go look to see which ones so I can recommend them here

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