Rad Reads

4 banned books and why you should read them

All opinions are the author's own.

Education is one of the most precious privileges you can experience. We've come so far in America to make strides in learning for all, but there is still a long way to go. Despite the extreme costs of higher education, a more considerable threat is banning books.

There are several dangers involved with this: limiting our knowledge, controlling what we consume and imparting biases in teaching. With the recent bills pushing efforts to prohibit more books from schools and libraries, we can see the cornering of teachers and the curriculum throughout a century of these debates.

Guarding students against nudity, drugs, sexuality and gender identities will not prevent them from learning about these subjects. (In a generation with the internet, they can learn independently.) It will, however, prevent them from exploring and learning in safe ways.

Specifically, the books targeted include those that discuss the LGBTQ+ community and sexual activity. And any author who walks the line of what's been socially acceptable in the past versus now is in danger.

Here are four challenged books to add to your reading list. (And if you're wondering why these books are banned or challenged, it might be worthwhile to take a look at them. You might find that the reasons they were banned are the exact reasons you should read them.)

Barnes & Noble

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

A graphic memoir following a family in rural Pennsylvania deals with sexuality, abuse, suicide and gender roles. This novel touches on sexuality in a specific way. As the main character, Alison discovers her sexuality, she understands her father's identity and struggles.

Barnes & Noble

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

The main character, Xiomara, writes poetry to deal with her hardships—including family tension and her mother's expectations due to religion. This book is written entirely in poetry and is a coming-of-age story many can find relatable. The theme of becoming your own person is valuable for teenagers.

Barnes & Noble

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

This entire story takes place over a single minute. William is ready to get revenge for the murder of his older brother, Shawn. When William gets on the elevator, it stops on each floor. Every time it stops, another person gets on and explains more about the killing. Much of the book revolves around William's internal conflict.

Barnes & Noble

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Following 15-year-old Christopher and his behavioral issues, this novel shows family difficulties and acceptance of yourself and others. Although not explicitly stated, the author often hints in the story and blurb that Christopher has autism. However, the story is not about one specific disorder, but rather the social acceptance of disorders as a whole. 

If you're looking for more book recommendations, check out these related posts:
📘  10 English class books you *need* to read again
📘  We've gathered our *fave* feminist classics for your next read
📘  12 books you need to read in 2022

Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag what banned book you're going to read next!

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Slider: @nawelleajengui


by Kelly Schwint | 4/6/2022