Banned Books Reading List: Stand for the Right to Read Freely

By NYPL Staff
September 25, 2023
collage of multiple book covers

Public libraries have always been at the forefront of the fight against censorship, leading to the creation in 1982 of Banned Books Week, a time to highlight titles that were targeted for removal from schools and libraries. However, book banning is not new—it's one of the oldest recorded forms of censorship. Despite the legacy of censorship threatening books and authors, there continues to be a particularly aggressive wave of bans and challenges across America. The American Library Association, which pioneered Banned Books Week, has reported a record amount of books banned in recent years—many of which center people of color and LGBTQ+ voices.   

NYPL has created a book list for all ages, selected by our expert librarians, to highlight titles both past and present that are targets of bans and challenges. While this list is just a small sample of the different books that are challenged, it demonstrates the wide range of books that are deemed “too dangerous” to read—and also how these bans and challenges are often aimed at silencing the voices, perspectives, and stories of marginalized communities.

Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.