Banned Books Week, happening Oct. 1-7, 2023, celebrates the freedom to read while also spotlighting current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. This year, to mark Banned Books Week, we asked our staff to share some of their favorite books that have been banned or challenged (or movies based on these books) and why they're worth reading.
Book River
Book River Items

Brave New World (2006)

by Aldous Huxley

This was one of my favorite books as a teenager. The bioethical issues presented offer fun/interesting points of discussion. It's probably sometimes challenged or banned due to the sex, drug use and suicide in the story. - Beth, Access Services

Two Boys Kissing (2013)

by David Levithan

The subject of five book bans in the U.S., Levithan tells a cute and poignant story about two teenagers who try to break the world record in kissing. - Rachel, Access Services

Gone with the Wind (1999)

by Selznick International Pictures

Based on Margaret Mitchell's book, this movie spans the American Civil War and Reconstruction. It's the story of Scarlett O'Hara, who hails from a wealthy family in the South that loses everything during the war, and her attempts to win the object of her affection, the charming Rhett K. Butler. This film's costume, historical details, touching love story and majestic battle scenes make this one of the best films of all time. - Janet, Fiction, Movies & Music

Death Note, Vol. 1 (2007)

by Kabushiki Kaisha Maddohausu

A classic anime/manga thriller about a student who originally had a strong moral standing, but when he obtains a book that can kill anyone whose name is written in it, he lets it go to his head. Banned in several countries and some American schools for fictional suicide, violence, bloodshed, and murder, but the main purpose for sharing is that most epic stories have similar concepts at some point. - Kevin, Circulation

Gender Queer : a Memoir (2019)

by Maia Kobabe

What began as a way for Maia to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, this is now a useful and touching guide on gender identity - what it means and how to think about it - for advocates, friends and humans everywhere. - Emily, Fiction, Movies & Music

Flamer (2020)

by Mike Curato

Flamer was one of the top 13 most challenged books of 2022. This emotional story follows Aiden at a Boy Scout summer camp during the summer before he starts high school as he navigates his feelings for a boy while having to deal with bullies. This LGBTQ+ graphic novel is not to be missed. - Allison, Youth Services

This Book is Gay (2015)

by Juno Dawson

Since it's publication in 2014, This Book Is Gay has becoming the 9th most banned book in America. This book is most often challenged and banned due to its content covering gender, sex and sexuality. The audiobook was a useful listen, and this book serves as a good place to begin learning. - Abbey, Youth Services

All Boys Aren't Blue : a Memoir-manifesto (2020)

by George M Johnson

All Boys Aren't Blue was listed as the second most banned book in the United States last year. Johnson joined PEN America, parents and publisher Penguin Random House to file a lawsuit against a school district in Florida for violating the constitutional right to free speech and equal protection under the law. This is a story of finding empowerment and sharing with readers that it is okay to be who you are. - Abbey, Youth Services