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Most Frequently Challenged Books

Updated on October 17, 2010

Before I hit seventh grade, my father gave me a copy of The Catcher in the Rye and told me I would love it. I did. I sat on my babysitter's couch and read it, taking my time because it was heavy reading for a twelve-year-old. But I wanted to read it and I did. The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books and one of the most challenged books to this day. People are still trying to take it out of school curriculums and off bookshelves. I have two copies now.

My Grandmother got me a copy of The Great Gilly Hopkins from a library sale when I was in fifth grade.

I read The Giver in my eighth grade english class and had to go out and buy the second part Gathering Blue immediately.

According to the American Library Association, most books are challenged and "banned" because of sexual material but there are a million and one different reasons why parents, teachers, and school administrators continue to try and keep books off of library shelves or out of the classroom.

Below is a list of the 100 Most Challenged Books Between 2001-2009. I have bolded all of the books I read in public schools, showing how education would be denied if these books were pulled from shelves and libraries.I underlined the books I read for please whether purchased from a bookstore or taken out from a library, or given to me by my parents or grandmother. These are books that need to stay. They are important.

*Keep in mind that I am a children's literature minor and I read a TON of children's books for school as well as read shelves and shelves of books as a child. My life is steeping in literature and would not be the same if these books were not around.

  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  55. Cujo by Stephen King
  56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  65. Fade by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  71. Native Son by Richard Wright
  72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  74. Jack by A.M. Homes
  75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  77. Carrie by Stephen King
  78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

I'd like to know what you think. Should any of these books be taken off the shelves? Judy Blume, the woman who knows how to capture the awkwardness of teen love? Harper Lee, who challenged racial tensions in the classic To Kill a Mockingbird? What do  you think? Leave your opinions in the comments below.


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      Alicia Russell 5 years ago

      I don't think these books should be banned but should have a parental advisory and only be available to be checked out to adults 18 and older so parents can use their own discretion as to the maturity of their child.

    • tmbridgeland profile image

      tmbridgeland 7 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      The Anarchist Cookbook shows great ways to blow yourself up. It should be banned from middle and high school libraries.

    • amesplaza profile image

      amesplaza 7 years ago from starbucks

      Almost everything I put in bold was read in high school or even middle school, I think the only exception is The Chocolate War. I feel it's not preaching for or against values, it's exposing children to new worlds. Everything is out there, exposing them and letting them make their own judgments based upon morals taught to them in the home is the point. It's literature. Most of these books have been around for decades and are standing the test of time for a reason.

    • tmbridgeland profile image

      tmbridgeland 7 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      There are books appropriate for college-age but not high school or younger. At these ages parents have a natural right to encourage their own cultural values in their children. Teachers and librarians have no superior right to teach THEIR values at the expense of the parent's.