The School Collection: Children's Literature at the Education and Social Science Library
The School Collection: Children's Literature at the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library

Challenged Children's Books

The titles on the lists linked to above were taken from two sources, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the American Library Association’s (ALA) lists of 100 most frequently challenged books. Titles were divided into three reading levels: picture books, children’s books (including early readers & chapter books), and young adult books. Books were grouped into a particular level based on their NoveList classification. In those few cases where books did not appear in NoveList, level was determined by checking Amazon. Likewise, most synopses were taken from NoveList or, when unavailable, the notes field of OCLC WorldCat records.

For more information on censorship, a longer list of books that have been challenged, and rationales in defense of challenged books, check NCTE’s Anti-Censorship Center.

NoveList also has information about why particular books have been challenged. Search banned books and then click on the "All Results" tab. The article “Banned Books: Celebrating the Freedom to Read” includes a list of challenged books as well as a description of the type of challenge.

ALA’s site has information on dealing with and reporting a challenge as well as a link to statistical graphs of known challenges divided by initiator, institution, type of challenge, and year. ALA's Freedom to Read Foundation site may also be useful.

For more information, check the following print sources:

  • Hit List For Children 2: Frequently Challenged Books, 2002 (S.323.445 Am35hch, S-Collection Reference) is a select listing of frequently challenged books compiled by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. Entries include a summary of the book, a listing of the challenges and the reasons behind them, a bibliography of reviews, where to find background information on the author, awards and prizes won by the book, a bibliography of literary criticism on the author, and a list of sources which recommend the book. This title is also accessible online in full text through the online catalog.
  • Hit List For Young Adults 2: Frequently Challenged Books, 2002. (S.323.445 Am35hyou, S-Collection Reference) provides the same information for young adult books as its companion book described above does for children's books. This title is also accessible online in full text through the online catalog.
  • Zena Sutherland’s book, Children and Books (S.809 Ar19c1997, S-Collection Reference), features information on pages 599-603 aimed at helping librarians deal with challenges. This section entitled "Censorship: Issues and Solutions" includes a bibliography and support group information.
  • Banned Books...Resource Guide (098.10973B226, Main Stacks) includes discussion of the types of challenges certain books have faced. This resource is published every three years.
  • Foerstel, Herbert. Banned in the USA: A Reference Guide to Censorship in School and Public Libraries (025.213 F685b2002, Main Stacks). Rev. and Expanded Ed. Greenwood Press, 2002. See chapter 2 (pp. 73-126).
  • Simmons, John S. and Eliza T. Dresang. School Censorship in the 21st Century: A Guide for Teachers and School Library Media Specialists (379.155 Si472s, Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library and Main Stacks). International Reading Association, 2001. See chapter 4 (pp. 63-78); and chapters 6-7 (pp. 101-139).

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