Books About Banned Books

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

[Header from ALA's Banned Books Week]

Banned Books Week is upon us and here at Quirk Books we’re celebrating by saving our favorite tomes from the fire, slipping challenged books into school children’s backpacks, and counter-protesting at city counsel. Okay, not really. But while we’re over here embracing books of all shapes, sizes, and subject matters while simultaneously wondering What Would Leslie Knope Do?, here’s a round up of books about banned books. Because you know we’re celebrating Banned Books Week in style: cuddled up on the couch with our favorite novel.


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

This dystopian novel was named after what Ray Bradbury determined to be the autoignition temperature of paper and examines a world where books are outlawed. Rather than fighting fires, the firemen of this world burn any reading material they find. As a fictional authority on the subject of censorship, this novel was inspired by Bradbury’s McCarthy Era concerns that book burning might one day become a common practice in the United States. Some of the most famous adaptations of Bradbury’s seminal work include the 1966 film adaptation directed by Francios Truffaut and the 2009 graphic novel adapted and illustrated by Tim Hamilton. 


The Day They Came to Arrest the Book by Nat Hentoff (1982)

When students and parents from George Mason High School rally together to ban The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the school library, editor of the school paper Barney Roth decides to take matters into his own hands. This young adult novel explores the very themes that these vocal students are contesting: racism, sexism, and morality. Can some good old investigative reporting turn the tide of censorship? It’s up to Barney to find out. For some extra fun and a real blast from the past, check out the 1987 CBS Schoolbreak Special that this novel inspired.


Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (2003)

Every Thursday morning for two years, Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her brightest female students to read forbidden Western classics, immersing themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Vladimir Nabokov, among others. This memoir explores Nafisi’s time teaching in the Islamic Republic of Iran, weaving together the lives of these book club members with the plots of the novels these women were forbidden to read.


Americus by M.K. Reed & Jonathan Hill (2011)

When religious activists rally to have his favorite fantasy series removed from the Americus Public Library on the grounds of immoral content, Neal Barton doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, youth services librarian Charlotte Murphy has his back. Together, they lead the charge to defend Neal’s very reason for living – a series of books so powerful that he no longer feels shy an awkward when he’s reading them. He just feels like Neal.