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Three Banned Books Your Teen Should Definitely Read

by | April 8, 2019

Growing-up, I was always a rebellious child and that carried on through my teen years. I remember in high school, I would beg my English teacher to sneak “banned books” to me so that I could read them because reading a “banned” book is so much cooler than reading a book deemed as “safe.”

In the United States, a “banned book” refers to books that are not allowed to be held in public school libraries or taught in curriculum. This form of censorship is not recent, it has been happening for decades. Reasoning for these book bans varies, from reasons ranging anywhere between the book not being seen as age-appropriate to a book containing transgender characters. Each year, a top 10 list of the books that were most widely banned is released during National Library Week, which happens to be next week. In honor of this important week, here are three “banned books” that your teen should read anyway.

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To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is perhaps one of the most well known (and in my opinion, one of the most important) pieces of literary fiction that young teens should read (it is usually studied during Freshman year of high school). Published in 1960, this book tells the story of a three-person family consisting of a lawyer father and his two children living in the south during the Great Depression. The book deals with themes surrounding racism, injustice, and innocence. It was banned in many schools due to the use of the “N” word and the racism portrayed in the book (not coming from any of the main characters). The serves the purpose of bringing awareness and opening the discussion about racism and injustices through fictional storytelling based on events that have happened throughout American history. It may or may not be banned depending on your school district and what they deem as being “appropriate.”

The Kite Runer- Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is classified as a “coming of age” tale about two childhood friends in Afghanistan in the 1970s. The novel takes place over many years and it includes themes of bullying, friendship, and forgiveness. The book has appeared on the ALA’s list numerous times, taking top spots in 2008, 2012 and 2014. It was banned due to sexually explicit content, homosexuality, religious views, and inappropriate language. Seen as not being acceptable for those in public school, it was banned in schools across the states. Reading the book as a teenager is a great way to have an open dialogue on the themes of the novel and reading it (or re-reading it) as an adult can provide an interesting and much-needed reality check. The Kite Runner has been banned nationwide in Afghanistan

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky

This title may be familiar as it was made into a very successful movie in 2012 featuring actors including Logan Lerma, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. Despite the movie being an important watch and a pretty good adaptation from the original, the book is what I will focus on. This story revolves a lot around mental health, a topic that many teens today know a lot about. The story follows a teenager, Charlie, who is on his way to beginning Freshman year of high school. He suffers from PTSD following his best friend’s suicide and was hospitalized because of it, but throughout this “coming of age” tale, he experiences friendship, love, and hope for the future. This book was banned for reasons including homosexuality and drug and alcohol use. Although declining mental health and suicide is a very delicate topic, this book could pave the way to talk about these things, to feel less alone even.

How do you feel about the idea of “banning” books? Which of these banned books has your teen read? Let me know in the comments below.

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Gabriella Anaya

News Editor | Limoges, France | [email protected]


Categories: Parenting


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