11 Popular Banned Books in the US Schools

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Many writers include social elements in their storylines to highlight various issues around the world. They make statements according to their research and own perspectives. Apart from this, they also use casual language and a broad mindset where profanities, sexual context, and violence are openly explained in detail.

It is agreeable that the inclusion of these elements is necessary as they make the content more relatable and distinctive. However, many people are not accustomed to this approach and are highly against the practice. Mostly, the parents are protesting because they do not want this exposure for their children from such an early age.

Due to these controversies, a list of challenged and banned books is issued every year in the US to inform the public about the restrictions. Academically speaking, most schools do not include challenged or banned books in their syllabus.

Today, I will discuss the reasons for book bans and list the 10 most banned books in US schools. So, if you are curious to know more about this topic, stay with me throughout the article.

Why Books are Banned in Schools?

The major reason for book bans in schools is the content of the particular book. After a book is released to the general public, they decide whether it should be challenged or not. Book banning happens when parents, teachers, libraries, organizations, and government officials complain or remove a particular book because they object to the content and ideas incorporated.

The American Library Association states that the list of challenged books is increasing day by day. Earlier complaints against books were due to sexual content and demonstration of violence, but nowadays, objections against an entire genre can be seen from various people.

Let me list a few reasons why books are banned in educational institutions and public libraries.

Sexual Content

Books that face objection for including sexual scenes in detail or innuendos are prone to bans. Many people do not appreciate the involvement of highly sexual content in books and may complain about it; if the objection is from a vast majority, it leads to censorship.


Violence is another aspect that is prone to objection from the readers. If a book contains extreme violence, that can lead to a ban. A book is also challenged if it is too depressing and negative.

Racial Topics

A book is also banned if it promotes racism toward a specific group or contains racist remarks that can be offensive.

Encouragement of Unaccepted Lifestyles 

If a book is encouraging a lifestyle that is damaging for people, then it is banned. An example of a damaging lifestyle here can be drug use.

Blasphemous Dialogue

If the writer has used sacred words such as ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ as profanity, then the book is prone to be banned. Apart from this, the usage of offensive expletives can also lead to censorship.

Religious Aspects

The involvement of religious views that might not coincide with the general public is unacceptable and leads to censorship.


The usage of witchcraft and magical aspects in a book is also sometimes not appreciated by the public, and the objection leads to the ban of the books.

Age Inappropriate

Sometimes, the books are banned because they contain age-inappropriate content. When the age level stated for the novel and the content do not align, then it can lead to censorship.

Political Biases

Books are also banned when they specifically support political parties and their philosophies.

11 Banned Books in the US Schools 2022-23

Several books are banned in the US each year, and more books are added to the list in 2022-23. I will mention the 10 popular books from the lot that are specifically banned and also state the reason behind the action.

Sr. NoTitlePublication DatePrint LengthPublisherWhere to Buy
1Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia KobabeMay 28, 2019240 pagesOni PressAmazon
2Flamer by Mike CuratoSeptember 1, 2020368 pagesHenry Holt and Co. (BYR)Amazon
3Tricks by Ellen HopkinsAugust 25, 2009640 pagesMargaret K. McElderry BooksAmazon
4The Handmaid’s TaleMarch 26, 2019240 pagesNan A. TaleseAmazon
5Crank by Ellen HopkinsJune 15, 2010544 pagesMargaret K. McElderry BooksAmazon
6Sold by Patricia McCormickApril 1, 2008263 pagesHyperionAmazon
7Push by SapphireJune 22, 2021240 pagesVintageAmazon
8A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. MaasJune 2, 2020640 pagesBloomsbury PublishingAmazon
9This Book is Gay by Juno DawsonJune 16, 2015272 pagesSourcebooks FireAmazon
10The Bluest Eye by Toni MorrisonDecember 28, 1993215 pagesKnopfAmazon
11Milk and Honey by Rupi KaurAugust 28, 2018226 pagesAndrews McMeel PublishingAmazon

1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer
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This book talks about the experience of being a non-binary person and obstacles along the way while explaining it to family and friends.

The book has been challenged due to the open demonstration of sexual behavior. So far, there have been 26 bans to this book.

2. Flamer by Mike Curato

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The book is based in the 1990s, where a teenage boy explores and accepts his sexuality. The novel is banned because it is more inclined toward sexual content.

However, the author mentioned that the book highlights suicide prevention. Flamer has faced 15 bans so far.

3. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

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Tricks tells the story of five troubled teenagers who somehow get involved in prostitution across various countries. The reason for banning this book is the inclusion of sexual themes and drug use.

People claim that this book includes pornographic content. The book has 33 bans.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault

The Handmaid’s Tale
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The Handmaid’s Tale focuses on the life of a handmaid named Offred. The book narrates how women do not have any control over their reproductive freedom, and they are forced to sleep with powerful men and birth their children due to the fertility crisis.

The book has been banned because it includes sexual content, profanities, and violence. So far, it has 12 bans.

5. Crank by Ellen Hopkins

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The main protagonist of this book is based on the author’s daughter. The girl is suffering from an addiction to crystal meth, and the book describes the experiences, obstacles, etc, along the journey.

The reason behind the ban of this book is the involvement of sexual activity, including minors, and also the references to drug use. The book has 23 bans.

6. Sold by Patricia McCormick

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This story is about a 13-year-old girl whose stepfather sold her in a sex trade. The worst part is her father lied to her about the situation.

The book is said to be too sexually graphic and considered pornography. The book has 24 bans so far.

7. Push by Sapphire

Push by Sapphire
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Push is about a teenage girl who is raped by her father and also gets pregnant. The book narrates how a sudden encounter changes a lot of things in her life.

The reason for the ban is the depiction of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. According to law, it contains pornography content. It has 11 bans.

8. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury
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This book is the second part of a series written by Sarah J. Maas. It is a fantasy fiction and is appreciated by the readers. However, the book is challenged due to being sexually explicit. It has 27 bans.

9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
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The book is for every gender and explores the concept of sexuality. The reason for the book to be banned is because it is considered pornographic and inappropriate for children. It has 10 bans.

10. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
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It is about an eleven-year-old black girl who wishes her eyes to turn blue so that she can be as beautiful as the other blonde American children.

It is banned because it includes sexual content, racism, and prostitution. The novel has 29 bans.

11. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
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The book is a collection of prose and poetry beautifully highlighting pain, heartache, and more. It is banned because of the demonstration of sexual assault, trauma, abuse, and more. It has 10 bans.


A wide range of books have been banned to date, including several amazing books. It all depends on the readers and their reactions regarding the overall novel.

I hope this article was helpful for you to learn the reason behind book bans. Now you know which books are banned and why through the provided list.

Are you familiar with any of these books, and do you think the bans are justifiable? Tell me in the comments and also state the reason.

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