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Books are challenged for surprising reasons. Dinosaurs Divorce by Laurene Kransy Brown and Marc Brown was challenged for possibly creating anxiety for children of married couples. Bruce Coville’s My Teacher Glows in the Dark was contested for including “farting” and “armpit farts” in the text. Harry Potter is continually challenged for promoting witchcraft.

Censorship is the suppression of ideas or information because a particular person or group of people does not like the idea in question. Censors believe that because they find a particular
idea objectionable, no one should have access to information about that idea. Book challenges are often initiated with good intentions, but censorship is deeply concerning for public  libraries.

Libraries are an open forum for the exchange of information, and restrictions to library  materials conflicts with their founding principles.

“Libraries contain an enormous wealth of viewpoints and are responsible for making those viewpoints available,” YDL Assistant Director Julianne Smith said. “Equitable access to information is a core value of librarianship.”

YDL Displays

YDL’s Banned Books Week exhibit highlights the dangers of censorship to our communities, celebrates the free access to information that libraries provide, and illustrates with humorous and thought-provoking displays how information restrictions in the library might look and  feel.

“Join us in celebrating your freedom to read,” said Smith. “It’s easy to discover great books
— banned or not — with your YDL card.” YDL has recently gone fine-free, so if late fees kept  you away, stop by any location to get yours or apply online. See below for information about our Banned Book Week Displays:

YDL-Whittaker Community Room Display

We’re celebrating Banned Books Week (September 18- 24) with a display in YDL-Whittaker’s Community Room. Look in a bottle and see if you can figure out which book (already unusable) has been shredded up inside. Check out the rest of the display with facts about banned books, then tell us your favorite banned book and why. Learn more here.

YDL-Whittaker Lobby Display

Check out the YDL-Whittaker lobby to see some commonly-banned books. How many of them have you read?

YDL-Michigan Youth Display

Check out a list of banned children’s books for you and your family to read and learn about books that are currently being banned and challenged.

YDL-Michigan Teen Zone

Feeling rebellious? Read a banned book (or two) from our banned books cart. Find out which of your favorite reads have been the subject of book bans and challenges. 

YDL-Michigan Adult Display

Stand up to censorship by reading these banned books, some of which have been challenged for decades. 

Most Challenged Books of 2021

All of these books are available for checkout in YDL’s catalog. Visit to find them!

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
  2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
  7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
  8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
  9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

Where and why does censorship happen?