Frequently Challenged Books for Kids and Teens

At one time or another, all the books on this list have been challenged by individuals or groups seeking to have them removed from libraries or classrooms, according to the American Library Association. Yet now many of these books are considered classics and are assigned as required reading. Whether your kids have read one, some, or none of them, it's great to discuss the idea of controversial or banned books as a family. Parents, ask your kids whether they're surprised to see any of these books on the list. What do they think makes these books so hotly debated? For more books to spark conversation, try these Book Club Picks for Kids.

And Tango Makes Three Poster Image
BOOK

And Tango Makes Three

age 4+

Touching love story of male penguins teaches acceptance.

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I Am Jazz Poster Image
BOOK

I Am Jazz

age 4+

Sweet, straightforward story of young transgender girl.

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo Poster Image
BOOK

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

age 4+

Cute story of two boy bunnies who get married.

By: Jill Twiss (2018)
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Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice Poster Image
BOOK

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice

age 4+

Powerful story helps guide talk of bias, shootings.

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King & King Poster Image
BOOK

King & King

age 5+

Prince marries a guy in fun fairy-tale twist.

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The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Captain Underpants, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Captain Underpants, Book 1

age 7+

Gross potty humor, funny pranks will hook reluctant readers.

By: Dav Pilkey (1997)
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Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU Poster Image
BOOK

Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU

age 7+

Inclusive, lively guide to bodies, touch for older kids.

By: Cory Silverberg (2015)
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Harry Potter, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Harry Potter, Book 1

age 8+

Magical start of the fantastic boy-wizard series.

By: J. K. Rowling (1998)
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New Kid, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

New Kid, Book 1

age 8+

Funny, heartfelt middle school tale explores race, class.

By: Jerry Craft (2019)
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Bridge to Terabithia Poster Image
BOOK

Bridge to Terabithia

age 9+

Honest, moving story of friendship and loss.

By: Katherine Paterson (1977)
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A Wrinkle in Time Poster Image
BOOK

A Wrinkle in Time

age 9+

Classic sci-fi story still inspires and gets kids thinking.

By: Madeleine L'Engle (1962)
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Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Poster Image
BOOK

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

age 10+

Classic coming-of-age story rings true decades later.

By: Judy Blume (1970)
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Drama Poster Image
BOOK

Drama

age 10+

Sharp, funny graphic novel captures chaos of theater.

By: Raina Telgemeier (2012)
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Melissa Poster Image
BOOK

Melissa

age 10+

Fourth grader identifies as a girl in tender tale.

By: Alex Gino (2015)
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Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1

age 11+

Boy stands up for sister with autism in compassionate tale.

By: Gennifer Choldenko (2005)
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The Giver, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

The Giver, Book 1

age 11+

Riveting, expertly crafted novel shows utopia's flaws.

By: Lois Lowry (1993)
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Poster Image
BOOK

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

age 12+

Classic novel grapples with moral question of slavery.

By: Mark Twain (1885)
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All American Boys Poster Image
BOOK

All American Boys

age 12+

Haunting tale of two boys' lives changed by police assault.

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Bless Me, Ultima Poster Image
BOOK

Bless Me, Ultima

age 12+

Lyrical story of young boy questioning religion, morality.

By: Rudolfo Anaya (1972)
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The Call of the Wild Poster Image
BOOK

The Call of the Wild

age 12+

Thrilling, violent tale of dog's survival in 1890s Alaska.

By: Jack London (1903)
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