Banned Books Week (in 2022, the week spans from September 18–24) is an important time here at Powell’s. We believe in everyone’s freedom to read and to seek out and express ideas. When a book is threatened, our community is threatened.
This year, we are donating 20% of the sales on Powells.com of the 20 titles listed below, all of which are frequently banned or challenged books, to American Booksellers for Free Expression. ABFE's programming and advocacy work ensures that bookstores have the resources they need to support everyone’s right to read. Our donation will be ongoing, and we’ll update our Banned Books resource page with periodic donation amount updates and any changes to the program.
The promotion applies only to online sales of the selected editions/titles below. We have included the reasons the ALA has listed for why each title has been banned and/or challenged.
Read on for more info on these great books. And remember: if you purchase one (or many!) of these titles, 20% from the sale of that book will go toward ABFE.
"Vulnerable and honest….Highly recommended reading for those on their own journey of exploration or those supporting the explorers in their own lives." — Booklist (Starred Review)
Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images.
"A triumph from the ground up....Lawn Boy takes us into the heart, mind and body of Mike Muñoz as he makes a coming of age trek from landscaping crew to navigating the dead American dream — all the way to reimagining a future on his own terms." — Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan
Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
"This title opens new doors, as the author insists that we don't have to anchor stories such as his to tragic ends...A critical, captivating, merciful mirror for growing up black and queer today." — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
"A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism." — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
"As we continue to fight the battle against police brutality and systemic racism in America, The Hate U Give serves as a much needed literary ramrod. Absolutely riveting!" — Jason Reynolds, bestselling coauthor of All American Boys
Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.
“The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally — and hilariously and triumphantly — bent in this novel.” — Horn Book (Starred Review)
Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and use of a derogatory term.
“Though this novel begs inevitable thematic comparisons to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, it stands on its own in inventiveness, humor, and heart.” — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.
“So precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry.” — The New York Times
Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit.
“The book every LGBT person would have killed for as a teenager, told in the voice of a wise best friend. Frank, warm, funny, USEFUL.” — Patrick Ness, New York Times bestselling author
Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
"Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep. When two of the mice speak of love, you are moved, when they suffer, you weep. Slowly through this little tale comprised of suffering, humor and life's daily trials, you are captivated by the language of an old Eastern European family, and drawn into the gentle and mesmerizing rhythm, and when you finish Maus, you are unhappy to have left that magical world." — Umberto Eco
Banned and challenged for unnecessary use of nudity, profanity, depiction of violence and suicide.
"A novel of metamorphoses, hauntings, memories, hallucinations, revelations, advertising jingles, and jokes. Rushdie has the power of description, and we succumb." — The Times (London)
Banned and challenged because of its criticism of Islam.
"Profound, moving, and — as Charlotte would say — radiant, this book will stay with anyone lucky enough to find it." — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
This is an amazing book to add to your antiracist library. Written for young adults, this book is wonderfully comprehensive and perfect for a classroom setting. Empower young people with the knowledge of their history to forge an antiracist future. — Rin S.
Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
“Diverse perspectives are presented in a manner that feels organic to the narrative, further emphasizing the tension created when privilege and racism cannot be ignored. Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning.” — School Library Journal (Starred Review)
Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
"Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy….But the book's overall gritty realism and Melinda's hard-won metamorphosis will leave readers touched and inspired." — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity.
“Written by three psychologists, this is a great educational resource for parents…how to talk to children about race and racism and trauma, how to identify and counter racial injustice.” — Vogue
Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views.
"A first novel of such rare excellence that it will no doubt make a great many readers slow down to relish more fully its simple distinction....A novel of strong contemporary national significance." — Chicago Tribune
Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.
"A short tale of much power and beauty. Mr. Steinbeck has contributed a small masterpiece to the modern tough-tender school of American fiction." — Times Literary Supplement (London)
Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.
"Read this and remember that time. Read this and feel the innocence and the intimate, wrestling out at the beach. Read this and keep it like a secret, or let it run wild like a bonfire night. Read this for the joy and the grit, the tears and the sunburn, what you can't remember and what you'll never forget. Read This One Summer and swear you were there." — Daniel Handler
Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations.
The 1619 Project from The New York Times, as conceived of by Nikole Hannah-Jones, is one of the most influential undertakings in journalism in recent years. And it was met, in many places, with an angry backlash; making this book-length expansion as vital and important as volumes of history get. — Keith M.
Banned and challenged for being "racially divisive" and "revisionist."