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There are books that aim to challenge, inspire, and educate. However, some modern works have found themselves in hot water for their controversial content, specifically for spreading hate in schools. Here are 15 books that ignited debates about their place on library shelves, English curriculums, and classroom libraries.
“American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins
While aiming to address immigration issues, “American Dirt” faced criticism for portraying Mexican characters, with accusations of perpetuating stereotypes and misrepresenting experiences. Some schools banned it to avoid potential division and discomfort among students.
“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher
Addressing the delicate topic of teen suicide, “Thirteen Reasons Why” received backlash for its graphic depiction and potential to glamorize self-harm. Some schools removed it from their shelves to protect vulnerable students from potential harm.
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
Despite its critical acclaim for addressing racial tensions and police violence, “The Hate U Give” faced censorship due to its strong language and discussions of systemic racism. Some school boards grappled with its inclusion in curricula, fearing it might be too divisive.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
A classic of American literature, “To Kill a Mockingbird” has faced bans for its themes of racial injustice and strong language. Some schools have opted for alternative texts, fearing the sensitive subject matter might generate discomfort among students.
“Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
Addressing the aftermath of sexual assault, “Speak” has been challenged for its explicit content, with some deeming it inappropriate for young readers. Schools have faced debates on whether it’s suitable for their curriculum, considering the subject’s sensitive nature.
“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
Despite its critical acclaim, “The Kite Runner” has been challenged for its depictions of violence, sexual content, and strong language. Some schools have replaced it with alternative texts to avoid potential controversy.
“Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan
This novel, which portrays a gay couple attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss, has faced bans due to its LGBTQ+ content. Some schools have excluded it from their libraries, citing concerns about age-appropriateness.
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s novel about race, beauty standards, and identity has faced challenges for its explicit content and mature themes. Some schools have excluded it from their curricula, choosing alternative texts to explore similar topics.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
Despite its critical acclaim, this novel about a Native American boy leaving his reservation has been banned in some schools for its profanity and discussions of alcohol and sexuality. Some educators have chosen alternative texts to address similar themes.
“A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl” by Tanya Lee Stone
This novel, addressing issues of consent and relationships, has faced bans for its explicit content. Some schools have opted for alternative texts to explore similar themes more cautiously or to try and avoid the topics altogether.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
Chbosky’s novel, which addresses topics like sexuality, drug use, and mental health, has faced bans for its explicit content and mature themes. Some schools have chosen alternative texts to approach these subjects more delicately.
“Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult
This novel about a school shooting has been challenged for its violent content and mature themes. Some schools have opted to exclude it from their curriculum, considering the sensitive nature of the subject.
“Looking for Alaska” by John Green
Green’s novel, addressing themes of death, grief, and adolescent sexuality, has faced bans for its explicit content. Some schools have chosen alternative texts to explore similar topics with a more cautious approach.
“Revolutionary Voices” edited by Amy Sonnie
This anthology of LGBTQ+ youth voices has faced bans for its explicit content and discussions of sexuality. Some schools have excluded it from their libraries, citing concerns about age-appropriateness.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” by Emily M. Danforth
This novel, addressing themes of LGBTQ+ identity and conversion therapy, has faced bans for its explicit content. Some schools have opted for different texts to explore similar themes more cautiously and still allow their students access to the topic.
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