IFC Censorship Reading List

Information on dealing with the students' right to read:

Guideline on the Students' Right to Read

Conversation about censorship and reading:

"'Banned Books Week' Worth the Hype"
National Coalition Against Censorship
Banned and Challenged Books

Information on Challenged and Banned Books:

"Banned Books Week: Celebrating 30 Years of Liberating Literature"
Frequently Challenged Books
"Frequently challenged books of the 21st century"
Banned Books Week Website


The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has a long-standing policy of supporting teachers and students when challenges to texts have occurred. NCTE maintains an extensive file of rationales teachers may access.

As a sophomore or junior member of National English Honor Society, you are invited to consider writing a rationale defending or challenging the assigning, teaching, or reading of a novel by participating in the Intellectual Freedom Challenge sponsored by NEHS. Read more about the Intellectual Freedom Challenge.

Link to the NCTE List of Rationales Already on File

In writing your own rationale, consider the following suggestions from NCTE:

  • Address the grade level and audience for whom the book would be appropriate or inappropriate
  • Include a brief plot summary as part of your rationale
  • Discuss the redeeming values expressed within the text and why or why not the text would be supported by others
  • Detail the text's literary qualities and, if possible, incorporate ideas from other reviews
  • Address the sensitive subjects in the text and acknowledge the possible objections
  • Speculate on how sensitive subjects and possible objections would be handled in class if the text were assigned
  • Consider whether there are alternative texts to the one in question

The best essays will be strong reasonable arguments for including or excluding a particular title/text from the school curriculum.

NCTE has also provided NEHS with a list of titles for which they have received challenges and for which no rationales currently exist. Perhaps this list will give you some ideas for text about which you would like to write:

10 Little Indians, Agatha Christie
l8r,g8r, Lauren Myracle
Beach Music, Pat Conroy
Blithe Spirit Play, Noel Coward
Child of God, Cormac McCarthy
Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis
Fools Crow, James Welch
His Dark Materials Trilogy, Philip Pullman
Into Thin Air, John Krakauer
Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Other Side of the River, The, Alex Kotlowitz
Our Town, (Play) Thornton Wilder
Reservation Blues, Sherman Alexie
Shipping News, The, E. Annie Proulx
Snow in August, Pete Hamill
Tango Make Three, And, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
TTFN, Lauren Myracle
Veldt, The, Ray Bradbury