Top Ten ‘Banned’ Books!


Erin Holzwarth, Staff Writer

Ten Recommendations From The List of Banned Books: 

In Honor of Banned Book Month, This is a list of the best books that one should read in a lifetime, and why you should read them. 

  1. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine: 

Summary: As R.L. Stine describes spooky situations to his readers, oftentimes there are lessons in what he has to say. His stories are often about a collection of teens and preteens who learn from their mistakes, one way or another. Often mixed with terrifying undertones, Stine’s work for children’s fiction is absurdly large, spanning over 235 books, featuring an ensemble of heroic children, worried parents, and dangerous ghouls and ghosts.

Why it should be read: Oftentimes, the defense for banning this book is that parents would like to shelter their kids from fear. But fear is something that everyone experiences, at all ages. Rather than sheltering kids from emotions they are bound to feel, perhaps it’s time to prepare children for scary experiences, by teaching them that there is nothing scarier than a possessed ventriloquist doll, or haunted masks.

  1. A Child Called “It” by David Pelzer: 

Summary: A very young David comes to school one day, extremely abused and hurt, the staff at his school decide that enough is enough. He tells the story of his mother, an abusive alcoholic, and how he managed to survive for years. Though terribly abused, David tries to look towards the future, but finds himself struggling to go on.

Why it should be read: This book is not for the faint of heart; In fact, it is graphic and it is extremely difficult to read. However, It’s important for other victims of child abuse to relate to, and it’s important for those who have never suffered like David did, to glimpse into what those around them have been through. 


  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

Summary: When Katniss Everdeen’s sister is reaped to a vicious event that turns people against their peers, She is quick to volunteer for her. She meets allies such as Peeta, a boy from her district, and Rue, a little girl who helps her through the games. As Katniss builds the world around her, The reader is left to dwell in this dystopian world, worrying about the danger waiting for the protagonist around every corner.  Though the games are tough, Katniss manages to survive,  but struggles with the concept of living with herself. Both for what she’s done, and what she’s seen. 

Why it should be read: Every teen should know that they have the ability to not only save themselves, but help change the world. Katniss is just one person but she manages to spark a generation of change within her country. Her bravery, wit, and overall relatability should be experienced by readers of all ages. 

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Summary: To Kill A Mockingbird follows a young girl nicknamed Scout, along with her father, a lawyer named Atticus, and Jem, Her brother. The story follows Scout as she goes through school, summers, and the trial of Tom Robinson, a young black man. When Atticus becomes his attorney, It seems that their family is the focus point of a lot of different neighbors and friends. As Scout learns her place in the world, It becomes clearer that there are certain places in the world that certain people fit into, especially in Scout’s small Alabama town. 

Why it should be read: To Kill A Mockingbird is a fantastic introduction to the topic of Gender Roles and Racism. While it is not perfect, it’s a good beginning for lots of teenagers in the lesson of acceptance. There’s still learning to be done after reading this book, but after learning the importance of learning to walk in others shoes, many different conversations open for readers of this classic. 

  1. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Summary: With hits like Smile and Sisters, Raina Telgemeier hits her audience once again with one of her most powerful books. Drama follows Callie, a middle schooler fascinated by theater and the behind the scenes aspect of the show. She then meets Jessie and Justin, two twin brothers who are theater enthusiasts themselves. As the show nears closer, Callie’s relationships and experiences go through ups and downs, but she ultimately learns a valuable lesson of acceptance and friendship. 

Why it should be read: The fact that the only reason this book is challenged is because of its inclusion of gay characters shouldn’t even be a thing. Since this book is for a younger audience, it’s important for kids to at least know that being gay is a thing; If a younger generation is taught about different identities, they might be able to label new and strange feelings for themselves, and Drama gives a stereotype-less example of gay characters. 

  1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary: High School is not easy for anyone. Freshman year is especially difficult for Melinda, whose friends all have seemed to abandon her, whose parents cannot seem to stop fighting, and whose mental health seems to be sharply declining after a terrible incident at the end of the Summer. Melinda’s journey is told through her own eyes, and spoken by her, despite not being able to find her own voice. With an everlasting Art Project, Melinda’s first year is more like a nightmare than a dream, but one she can wake up from, with time. 

Why it should be read: Many High School students do not feel like they fit in. Everyone can find a bit of themselves in Melinda, through her surroundings, family, or thoughts. Through reading Melinda’s journey, a self reflection journey goes on as well. Melinda’s story is tough, but as she grows, her story becomes one any reader would root for. 

  1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Summary: Published in 2003, The Kite Runner follows Amir, a wealthy boy in Kabul, where the story starts in 1974. The book tells of Amir’s adventures with his best friend, Hassan, who is his servant and comes from a completely different social class than his own. Following Amir from the end of his childhood into his teenage year and his adult years, Khaled Hosseini grapples with struggles of immigration, unconditional love, and redemption. Amir learns how to find himself in an ever changing world. 

Why it should be read; Coming of Age stories are regarded as for Teenagers. While The Kite Runner does not follow a conventional all American high school outcast, it’s universal themes resonate with every reader, regardless of their background. Learning to live with other people is one lesson. Learning to live with yourself  is a totally different one. They are both explored and developed wonderfully in this story. 

  1. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Summary: Charlie is a 15 year old boy struggling with mental illness. Told through letters addressed to the readers, Stephen Chbosky gives readers all around the globe an insight into the struggles of teenagers with mental illnesses, growing up, and trauma. Charlie’s adventure through his first year of High School focuses on many difficult topics that teens go through, and helps the reader understand their own mental health, even a little bit more. 

Why it should be read; The topic of Mental Health does not go away just because no one talks about it. It’s a real struggle everyone goes through at some point, and teenagers should be able to educate themselves on their own brains, and perhaps, people who see themselves in Charlie, will grow and reach out for help once they see their own struggles portrayed.  

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary: The Hate U Give follows a 16 year old named Starr. Starr witnesses her childhood best friend become a victim of Police Brutality, and quickly finds herself at the center of the investigation. She has to deal the emotions surrounding his death. Tackling subjects of Police Brutality, Racism, and Community, The Hate U Give delivers strong statements chapter after chapter. 

Why it should be read: It is no secret that the issue of racism and police brutality is one of the hottest topics in America right now. The Hate U Give is a great way to learn about all sides of victims of police brutality, and Makes excellent points to the many different aspects of being a black person in America. 

1.The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Summary: Written By Anne Frank, a Jewish Teenager in 1940’s Europe, who has gone into hiding so that her family is not sent to The Nazi’s Concentration Camps. It discusses her family’s trials and tribulations while in hiding. Everything in this Diary is Anne Frank’s real account of her time hiding in Amsterdam as a fourteen year old, facing a trial so great that it would become one of the most discussed stories of World War II throughout History. 

Why it should be Read: Because those who have no knowledge of the past are bound to repeat it.