Books Banned in the United States

A Public Service Report from Adler & Robin Books

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An all too common pastime in the United States is banning books. Sad, frightening -- and far too frequent. Who bans books? Libraries, schools, entire towns, and sometimes, in the past, the United States government.

Banning books isn't something that was done centuries or decades ago. It happens nearly every week somewhere in the United States. Often people take notice of banned books, protest, and the proscription is lifted. Sometimes nobody notices and the banned book stays lost to a school or country.

Naturally, everyone expects that a literary agency would be opposed to censorship and banning books. And that's absolutely true -- as a profession. literary agents are appalled by censorship. (Although there's nothing quite like banning or threatening to ban a book to increase that book's sales.) Censorship in all forms must be opposed.

Censorship in the United States is an old pastime and new hobby of the feebleminded. In January 1997 a Minneapolis, Minnesota parent inspired an investigation of whether R.L. Stine's Goosebumps should be banned in the school library because it is too scary for children. Never mind that there are 180 million copies of Goosebumps in print --not a hard book for a child to obtain-- this library's nine copies might be dangerous.

James Joyce's Ulysses was prohibited from the United States, and the U.S. Postal Service actually seized copies between 1918 and 1930. The U.S. Postal and Customs Departments have been actively involved in seizing and banning numerous books including Voltaire's Candide, Aristophanes's Lysistrata, Jean-Jacque Rousseau's Confessions, and Chaucer's Canterbury's Tales. Locally, schools and school districts have banned Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice, and Little Red Riding Hood. States have been vigorous censorship advocates, as well:   Anyone familiar with the history of banning books knows about Tennessee's efforts to bar the teaching of Darwin's Origin of the Species.

The following list of books banned in the United States is by no means comprehensive. If you have any additions, please let us know by dropping us an email.

Books Banned at One Time or Another in the United States

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

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