21 Diverse Books People Have Tried to Ban

Inspired by Banned Books Week, this list of inspiring books will open up your kids& experience to the diverse world around them.

By Allison McDonald
Sep 29, 2016



Sep 29, 2016

This week is Banned Books Week, an annual event put on by the American Library Association (ALA) to promote the continued challenges to the freedom to read. According to the ALA, this year the most challenged books include: Looking for Alaska by John Green, My Name Is Jazz by Jessica Herthel, and yes, the Bible. Books are included on these lists after people submit an official challenge through schools and public libraries. What I find most troubling is that of the top 10 most challenged books in 2015, nine included diverse content. The ALA defines diverse content as:

...non-white main and/or secondary characters; LGBT main and/or secondary characters; disabled main and/or secondary characters; issues about race or racism; LGBT issues; issues about religion, which encompass in this situation the Holocaust and terrorism; issues about disability and/or mental illness; non-Western settings, in which the West is North America and Europe.

This is troubling! Instead of embracing the rich cultures, history, and life experiences these books offer, we are sheltering and homogenizing our children’s experiences. This results in some children seeing only lives just like theirs represented. And other children who aren’t widely represented in books are given the message that there's something wrong or invalid about their lives. We can do better than this — we need a richly diverse bookshelf at home and in school and public libraries.

Here are 21 of my favorite diverse books that are frequently challenged but instead should be frequently read! You can learn more about Banned Books Week here.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Family Book by Todd Parr

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

George by Alex Gino

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesle?a Newman

A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich by Alice Childress

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

King & King by Linda de Haan

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron

Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

This Day in June by Gayle Pitman

What do you think of banning books? Tell us about it on Scholastic Parents Facebook page!

Featured Photo Credit: © Wavebreakmedia/Thinsktock

Check out bloggers Amy Mascott and Allie McDonald's book, Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading. Get expert advice and learn new strategies for your young readers.




Raise a Reader Blog
Age 13
Age 12
Age 11
Age 10
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Biracial and Multiracial Experiences