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IFEP Banned Book Reading List

Thousands of books are challenged in schools, prisons and libraries across the united states every year. These books are deemed “inappropriate, controversial or objectionable” but a lot of the time, book banning just removes important issues like anti-racism, gender equality, LGBTQ+ issues and more from discourse and curriculum.


Here are five books on our Banned Book Reading List that have been challenged in schools around the country that we think you should read.

  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

    • Alison Bechdel is not just the creator of the Bechdel test, but also a well known cartoonist. Fun Home: A family tragicomic by alison bechdel tells the story of her life, dysfunctional family, coming to terms with her sexuality, her relationship with her father, his homosexuality, and his eventual death by suicide. ​The book has been challenged by school districts and universities for Pornography and LGBTQ+ themes.

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

    • Toni Morrison is an American novelist known for her work examining the Black experience. Beloved by Toni Morrison explores the lasting impact of slavery on a formerly enslaved woman living in Ohio. It has been banned for violent and graphic content.

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

    • Maya Angelou is an American poet, author and activist whose work is widely recognized. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is Maya Angelou's powerful memoir, recounting her childhood and adolescence marked by racism, trauma, and resilience in the segregated South. The book has been challenged many times for its depiction of sexual content and sexual assault.

  • Maus by Art Spiegelman

    • Art Spiegelman is the son of a Holocaust survivor and a graphic novelist. Maus by art spiegelman is a graphic novel that recounts the author's father's experiences during the Holocaust, portraying Jews as mice and Nazis as cats, and delves into the complex and traumatic legacy of the Holocaust on the second generation. Maus has been challenged for being sexually explicit and containing inappropriate material for students.

  • All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson

    • George M. Johnson is an American writer and journalist. All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson is a coming-of-age memoir exploring Black queer identity and resilience, serving as both a personal narrative and a manifesto for LGBTQ+ understanding. It has been challenged for LGTBQ+ content, profanity and sexually explicit content.

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