Banned Books for your book club

CALS has a wide variety of books to choose from for your book clubs, there are nearly 350 titles available. These kits can be requested up to a year in advance and aren’t checked out like a traditional book. Kits include 10 copies of the book your group will read so you don’t have to track down individual copies. Read the full process for book club kits here. For Banned Books Week we pulled together a list of books that are available in book club kits and that happen to have been challenged or banned at some point. These books will make for great discussions (and you don’t have to only read them during Banned Books Week).

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Banned due to graphic language and images that are not appropriate for general use.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Banned for language and being too explicit in the book’s portrayal of rape and other sexual abuse.

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons this book has been challenged have included, “sexually explicit material,” “lots of graphic descriptions and lots of disturbing language,” and “an underlying socialist-communist agenda.” One complaint simply called it a “bad book.”

Beloved, by Toni Morrison
This book has been challenged multiple times for reasons that including that the novel contains violence and sex acts that contain no historical relevance.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
This book was banned due to “insensitivity, offensive language, violence, anti-family, anti-ethic and occult/satanic.” In 2014, the novel was also banned for reasons of inserted religious perspective.

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
It has been challenged and/or banned due to themes of racism, sexuality, and poverty.

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The book itself has been criticized for being anti-Christian, anti-Islamic and for its portrayal of sex and violence

Paper Towns, by John Green
The book was removed from a middle school reading list after a parent complained about the book’s language, talk of masturbation, and sexual situations. The book was reinstated after multiple complaints.

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
The book was banned in Levittown, New York in 1975, North Jackson, Ohio, in 1979, and Lakeland, Florida, in 1982 for its “explicit sexual scenes, violence, and obscene language.” Slaughterhouse-Five was challenged as recently as 2007 in a school district in Howell, Michigan because the book contained “strong sexual content.

The Circle, by Dave Eggers
“Brief sexual passages”

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
Challenged due to vulgar language, sexual content, and violence that was considered “unacceptable.”

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
Challenged because it contains violence and abuse against women

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This book has been challenged or banned by people who object to its offensive language, disrespect for religious and political authority, and sexually explicit, emotionally disturbing scenes and themes, including war, death, incest and implications of the occult.