America's Top Banned Books: What They Are and Why

About this article
The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) keeps a record of complaints that have been lodged against books in American libraries and schools. See which books are challenged the most and what it is people don't like about them.
View available schools

Harry

The most challenged book of the 21st century.

Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century

According to reports issued by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the following books are the most challenged books of the 21st century. Some of these books are less than ten years old. Other books, such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have been around for ages.

Book Author Why It Was Challenged Read an Excerpt
Harry Potter Series JK Rowling Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Chocolate War Robert Cormier Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence Excerpt from The Chocolate War
Olive's Ocean Kevin Henkes Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language Excerpt from Olive's Ocean
The Golden Compass Philip Pullman Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from The Golden Compass
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain Racism Excerpt from Huckleberry Finn
The Color Purple Alice Walker Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language Excerpt from The Color Purple
TTYL Lauren Myracle Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from TTYL
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou Sexually Explicit Excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
It's Perfectly Normal Robie Harris Sex Education, Sexually Explicit Excerpt from It's Perfectly Normal
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Most Challenged Books of the 1990s

Censors were busy in the 1990s. Between 1990 and 2000, they made more than 10,000 attempts to have books banned from libraries and schools. According to reports issued by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the following ten novels were the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s.

Book Author Why It Was Challenged Read an Excerpt
Scary Stories Series Alvin Schwartz Unsuited to Age Group, Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Scary Stories
Daddy's Roommate Michael Willhoite Religious Viewpoint, Homosexuality, Anti-Family Excerpt from Daddy's Roommate
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou Sexually Explicit Excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The Chocolate War Robert Cormier Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence Excerpt from The Chocolate War
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain Racism Excerpt from Huckleberry Finn
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck Offensive Language, Violence, Racism Excerpt from Of Mice and Men
Harry Potter Series JK Rowling Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Forever Judy Blume Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from Forever
Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Bridge to Terabithia
Alice Series Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from Alice Alone

Other Frequently Challenged Books

These books get an honorable mention because they have appeared numerous times on past lists. All of them are still on the American Library Association's list of the 100 most challenged books.

Book Author Why It Was Challenged Read an Excerpt
The Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Racism Excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird
The Giver Lois Lowry Violence, Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from The Giver
A Day No Pigs Would Die Robert Newton Peck Violence, Offensive Language Excerpt from A Day No Pigs Would Die
Lord of the Flies William Golding Offensive Language Excerpt from Lord of the Flies

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. University of Southern California

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership
      • Doctor of Social Work
    Master's
      • Masters of Arts in Teaching
      • Masters in School Counseling
      • Master of Arts in Teaching Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
      • MSN for Aspiring Family Nurse Practitioners
      • Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • MSN-DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
      • Master of Science -DNP Path Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Communication
      • BS in Criminal Justice - Socially Responsible Leadership
      • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
      • BSOM - Decision Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Development
      • Associate of Applied Science in Human Services
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters in Psychology
      • Masters in Dispute Resolution
      • Masters in Legal Studies
      • Masters in Human Resources
      • Masters in Business Administration
      • Masters in Management and Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Florida Tech

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA/Management
      • MA in Organizational Leadership
      • MBA
      • MBA/Accounting
      • MBA/Accounting & Finance
      • MBA/Finance
    Bachelor's
      • BA in Applied Psychology
      • BA in Business Administration/Management
      • BA in Accounting
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Child Advocacy
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Clinical Psychology
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Forensic Psychology
    Associate's
      • AA in Applied Psychology
      • AA in Business Administration
      • AA in Management
      • AA in Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
      • MSNAGPC - Master of Science in Nursing with a Concentration in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • Bachelor: Legal Studies
      • Bachelor: Homeland Security and Public Safety
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Legal Studies
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • ASGSN - Associate of Science in General Studies - Pre-Nursing
    Certificate
      • PMCAF- Post Master's Certificate in Accounting and Finance
      • PMCHCM- Post Master's Certificate in Healthcare Management
      • PMCHR- Post Master's Certificate in Human Resources
      • PMCN - Post Masters Certificate Family Nurse Practitioner
      • PMCPM- Post Master's Certificate in Project Management
      • DSP - Diploma in Sterile Processing
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ed.D in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning - Qualitative Research
      • Ed.D in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning - Quantitative Research
      • Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology: Performance Psychology (Qualitative Research)
      • Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology: Performance Psychology (Quantitative Research)
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Bridge (Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing)
    Master's
      • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education with an Emphasis in Humanities (ITL)
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an Emphasis in Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an Emphasis in Political Campaigns
      • Bachelor: Business Admin
      • BA in Digital Film - Screenwriting
  • Online Programs Available
    7. California Baptist University - Online

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Administration
      • Doctor of Public Administration
    Master's
      • Master of Science in Education: Specialization in Teaching
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Science in Education with Specialization in Early Childhood Studies
      • Master of Science in Information Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Education
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
    Master's
      • MS: Criminal Justice
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Critical Incident Management
      • MA: Creative Writing - Fiction
      • MA: Creative Writing - Non-Fiction
      • MAcc: Accounting
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
    Bachelor's
      • BA: Criminal Justice
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
      • BA: Liberal Studies
      • BA: Psychology
      • BA: Psychology - General
      • BS: Computer Science
    Associate's
      • AA: Criminal Justice
      • AA: Liberal Arts
      • AA: Business Administration
      • AA: Information Technology
      • AA: Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Bryant & Stratton College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA - General Management
      • BBA Human Resources Management
      • BBA Medical Services Management
      • BS Human & Social Services
      • General Management (GM) - BBA
      • Health Services Administration - BS
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice Studies - AAS
      • AS - Business
      • AS - Criminal Justice
      • AS - Accounting
      • AS - Human Resources Specialist
      • AS - IT Networking
    Certificate
      • Business Assistant Diploma
      • Criminal Justice and Security Services Diploma
      • Business - AAS
      • Business Assistant - Diploma
      • Criminal Justice and Security Svcs. - Diploma
      • Accounting Assistant Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Baylor University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctorate in Learning and Organizational Change
    Master's
      • Masters in Public Health
      • Masters in Social Work

Featured Schools

University of Southern California

  • Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership
  • Doctor of Social Work
  • Masters of Arts in Teaching
  • Masters in School Counseling

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • BS in Communication
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

  • Masters in Psychology
  • Masters in Dispute Resolution
  • Masters in Legal Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

Florida Tech

  • MBA/Management
  • BA in Applied Psychology
  • AA in Applied Psychology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • PMCAF- Post Master's Certificate in Accounting and Finance

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Ed.D in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning - Qualitative Research
  • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
  • BS in Psychology

What is your highest level of education?

California Baptist University - Online

  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Public Administration
  • Master of Science in Education: Specialization in Teaching
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

$fe.label

Saint Leo University

  • Doctor of Criminal Justice: Education
  • MS: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • AA: Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?