Banned & Challenged Books Every Tween and Teen Should Read

by Melissa Taylor

You can’t please everyone. Every book will have its fans and its foes. But restricting reading for another person or group of people? That goes too far.

Those who ban books believe that not only are banned books not appropriate for their own kids, they’re not appropriate for anyone else’s kids. Their biggest complaints usually center on the following issues:

  • homosexuality
  • witchcraft
  • sex
  • profanity
  • alcohol use
  • violence
  • anti-God / religion

But, I’ll give them one thing. Ideas are powerful.

Ideas in books can ignite discovery, encourage empathy, and offer solace. (Among other things.) With that in mind, here are 22 banned and challenged books that are worth reading (maybe more than once) for their ideas.

Learn more about banned books and Banned Books Week here.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2022.