In honor of #BannedBooksWeek, here’s a list of 12 of my favorite middle grade books that have been banned or challenged in various states, including my home state of Texas. I respect the desire to protect one’s kids from information that is scary or inappropriate for their age, but many of these books have been banned or challenged simply because the main characters experience racism or hatred for being a certain race, gender, or sexual orientation. These books do not contain explicit sexual content, but many of them do reflect the real micro-aggressions experienced by kids (and adults) everyday. Reading books like these help me understand what it feels like to be not accepted – or even bullied – for being, looking, or acting different than the mainstream. They build empathy and tolerance and can serve as both windows and mirrors to the world.
What are your favorite banned or challenged middle grade books?
12 Banned or Challenged Middle Grade Books that I Love
- Front Desk by Kelly Yang
- New Kid by Jerry Craft
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier
- Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
- Blended by Sharon Draper
- George by Alex Gino
- Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
- Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- Lola Levine is Not Mean by Monica Brown
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling