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.

Browse Frequently Challenged Books for Kids and Teens

And Tango Makes Three Book Poster Image
Touching love story of male penguins teaches acceptance.
By Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell
(2015)
(2015)
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I Am Jazz Book Poster Image
Sweet, straightforward story of young transgender girl.
By Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings
(2014)
(2014)
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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo Book Poster Image
Cute story of two boy bunnies who get married.
By Jill Twiss
(2018)
(2018)
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King & King Book Poster Image
Prince marries a guy in fun fairy-tale twist.
By Linda de Haan, Stern Nijland
(2016)
(2003)
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The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Captain Underpants, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Gross potty humor, funny pranks will hook reluctant readers.
By Dav Pilkey
(2003)
(1997)
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Book Poster Image
Magical start of the fantastic boy-wizard series.
By J. K. Rowling
(2005)
(1998)
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Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU Book Poster Image
Inclusive, lively guide to bodies, touch for older kids.
By Cory Silverberg
(2020)
(2015)
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Bridge to Terabithia Book Poster Image
Honest, moving story of friendship and loss.
By Katherine Paterson
(2006)
(1977)
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A Wrinkle in Time Book Poster Image
Classic sci-fi story still inspires and gets kids thinking.
By Madeleine L'Engle
(2003)
(1962)
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Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. Book Poster Image
Classic coming-of-age story rings true decades later.
By Judy Blume
(2003)
(1970)
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Drama Book Poster Image
Sharp, funny graphic novel captures chaos of theater.
By Raina Telgemeier
(2012)
(2012)
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George Book Poster Image
Fourth-grader George identifies as a girl in tender tale.
By Alex Gino
(2015)
(2015)
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The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Nail-biting, violent fantasy has elements of mystery.
By Philip Pullman
(2005)
(1998)
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Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Boy stands up for sister with autism in compassionate tale.
By Gennifer Choldenko
(2005)
(2005)
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The Giver, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Riveting, expertly crafted novel shows utopia's flaws.
By Lois Lowry
(2010)
(1993)
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Book Poster Image
Classic novel grapples with moral question of slavery.
By Mark Twain
(2009)
(1885)
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Bless Me, Ultima Book Poster Image
Lyrical story of young boy questioning religion, morality.
By Rudolfo Anaya
(2011)
(1972)
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The Call of the Wild Book Poster Image
Thrilling, violent tale of dog's survival in 1890s Alaska.
By Jack London
(2009)
(1903)
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Ender's Game Book Poster Image
Boy genius trains to crush alien invasion in sci-fi classic.
By Orson Scott Card
(2005)
(2005)
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The Hunger Games, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.
By Suzanne Collins
(2008)
(2008)
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Lord of the Flies Book Poster Image
Gripping story of marooned schoolboys and their savagery.
By William Golding
(2011)
(1954)
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To Kill a Mockingbird Book Poster Image
Classic novel examines American racism and justice.
By Harper Lee
(2004)
(1960)
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Two Boys Kissing Book Poster Image
Poignant tale of several gay teens and record-breaking kiss.
By David Levithan
(2013)
(2013)
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Animal Farm Book Poster Image
Classic satirical allegory about the abuse of power.
By George Orwell
(2010)
(1945)
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Fahrenheit 451 Book Poster Image
Classic, still-powerful story of futuristic censorship.
By Ray Bradbury
(2011)
(1953)
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Forever Book Poster Image
Real look at first love (and sex) -- a teen classic.
By Judy Blume
(2007)
(1975)
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The Hate U Give Book Poster Image
Powerful story of police shooting of unarmed Black teen.
By Angie Thomas
(2017)
(2017)
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Of Mice and Men Book Poster Image
Moving Depression-era story of friendship, loneliness, fate.
By John Steinbeck
(2010)
(2002)
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This One Summer Book Poster Image
Well-observed graphic novel charts transition to adolesence.
By Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki
(2014)
(2014)
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Twilight: The Twilight Saga, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Obsessive vampire romance is absorbing and fun.
By Stephenie Meyer
(2007)
(2005)
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Book Poster Image
Funny, gritty, and powerful novel of growing up on the rez.
By Sherman Alexie
(2007)
(2007)
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Brave New World Book Poster Image
Satire of ultimate consumerist society still packs punch.
By Aldous Huxley
(2011)
(1932)
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The Catcher in the Rye Book Poster Image
One of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
By J. D. Salinger
(2005)
(1969)
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The Chocolate War Book Poster Image
A kind of "Dangerous Liaisons" for teenagers.
By Robert Cormier
(2003)
(1974)
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The Fault in Our Stars Book Poster Image
Heartrending love story told by teen dying of cancer.
By John Green
(2012)
(2012)
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For Whom the Bell Tolls Book Poster Image
Profound novel offers brutal view of Spanish Civil War.
By Ernest Hemingway
(2011)
(1940)
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The Great Gatsby Book Poster Image
American classic captures romance, debauchery of Jazz Age.
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
(2011)
(1925)
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Book Poster Image
Poetic autobiography reveals impact of racial prejudice.
By Maya Angelou
(2011)
(1969)
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Lush Book Poster Image
Heartfelt look at drinking's impact on families.
By Natasha Friend
(2006)
(2006)
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Paper Towns Book Poster Image
Edgy, compelling teen angst mystery.
By John Green
(2008)
(2008)
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The Sun Also Rises Book Poster Image
Hemingway's masterpiece salutes Spain and Lost Generation.
By Ernest Hemingway
(2010)
(2006)
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Thirteen Reasons Why Book Poster Image
Disturbing suicide novel examines bullying, indifference.
By Jay Asher
(2008)
(2007)
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Beloved Book Poster Image
Haunting Pulitzer Prize winner about slavery's impact.
By Toni Morrison
(2005)
(1987)
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The Bluest Eye Book Poster Image
Deeply poetic novel explores racial and sexual feelings.
By Toni Morrison
(2011)
(1970)
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The Color Purple Book Poster Image
Edgy tale of poor, abused woman's journey to independence.
By Alice Walker
(2011)
(1982)
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Gossip Girl Books Book Poster Image
Addictive high-society fluff with iffy messages.
By Cecily von Ziegesar
(2005)
(2005)
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The Grapes of Wrath Book Poster Image
Gritty Steinbeck classic brings Great Depression to life.
By John Steinbeck
(2010)
(2002)
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Just One Day Book Poster Image
Mature romance explores love, travel, and self-discovery.
By Gayle Forman
(2013)
(2013)
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Slaughterhouse-Five Book Poster Image
Vonnegut's time-travel classic makes strong anti-war case.
By Kurt Vonnegut
(2007)
(1969)
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The Things They Carried Book Poster Image
Vet's stunning, devastating Vietnam War stories; a classic.
By Tim O'Brien
(2016)
(1990)
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ttfn: The Internet Girls, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Edgy sequel written in IM messages may appeal to teens.
By Lauren Myracle
(2006)
(2006)
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1984 Book Poster Image
Classic dystopian novel about life under constant scrutiny.
By George Orwell
(2010)
(1949)
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Crank Book Poster Image
First in controversial verse poetry series about addiction.
By Ellen Hopkins
(2011)
(2004)
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A Farewell to Arms Book Poster Image
Classic war novel still speaks to today's readers.
By Ernest Hemingway
(2019)
(1929)
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The Handmaid's Tale Book Poster Image
Gripping dystopian novel of religious state against women.
By Margaret Atwood
(2011)
(1985)
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The Kite Runner Book Poster Image
Brilliant, violent Afghanistan novel will enlighten teens.
By Khaled Hosseini
(2012)
(2003)
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Looking for Alaska Book Poster Image
Teens process tragic loss in thought-provoking novel.
By John Green
(2006)
(2006)
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Native Son Book Poster Image
Gritty novel of violence and race best for older teens.
By Richard Wright
(2010)
(1940)
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Poster Image
Controversial coming-of-age classic with sex, drugs, abuse.
By Stephen Chbosky
(2011)
(1999)
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Song of Solomon Book Poster Image
Brilliant but mature classic explores racism, gender, power.
By Toni Morrison
(2005)
(1977)
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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Book Poster Image
Kesey's great madhouse epic best for older teens.
By Ken Kesey
(2011)
(2002)
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