Staff Favorites from the ALA Challenged Books List

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Here at Skokie Public Library, we are committed to intellectual freedom. More information about Banned Books Week and the titles on this list can be found on the American Library Association's website.

  • The Handmaid's Tale

    1986 by Atwood, Margaret

    One of my favorite dystopian novels, this book portrays a future in which women have lost their right to independence. This chilling story with a wide cultural impact is must-read feminist fiction. Suggested by Brenna.

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  • And Tango Makes Three

    2005 by Richardson, Justin

    Inspired by actual events at New York's Central Park Zoo, this heartwarming tale of two male penguins raising a baby penguin is beautifully told and lovingly illustrated. I love the story itself, and its gentle, inclusive message. Suggested by Mary.

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  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

    2012 by Andrews, Jesse

    Forced by his mother to spend time with Rachel (the dying girl), Greg hilariously and profanely recounts his time with her and all that he would rather be doing. Instead of offering trite lessons on embracing life because our days are finite, Andrews irreverently shows that life sometime sucks and all you can do is gut through the hard parts. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • Drama

    2012 by Telgemeier, Raina

    Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going. I loved this portrayal of the social roller-coaster that is middle school. Suggested by Mary.

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  • Speak

    1999 by Anderson, Laurie Halse

    Written more than two decades ago, this book follows Melinda Sordino after she is sexually assaulted during her first year of high school. Through uncomfortable yet candid stories like this one, Laurie Halse Anderson has consistently advocated for teens' voices to be heard over the years. Suggested by Elise.

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  • The Hate U Give

    2017 by Thomas, Angie

    By age 16, Starr Carter has witnessed the senseless gunshot deaths of two childhood friends. Angie Thomas’s first novel is a terrific, heartbreakingly moving story with memorable characters and a timely theme. I was totally engaged from beginning to end, and it remains one of my favorite young adult books. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • This Day in June

    2014 by Pitman, Gayle E.

    Rhyming couplets and brilliant colors portray a Pride Parade featuring all kinds of participants. Reading it is a celebration! Suggested by Mary.

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  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

    2006 by Bechdel, Alison

    This brilliant adult graphic memoir is a heartfelt exploration of Bechdel's relationship with her closeted father and her own coming of age. Both funny and vulnerable, her story somehow manages to convey both empathy and anger. Oh, and it also made into a Tony-Award winning Broadway play! Suggested by Mary and Chris.

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  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel

    1997 by Pilkey, Dav

    Pilkey's signature irreverent sense of humor is a siren's song for nearly all children, but my favorite thing about it is that it not only welcomes, but also celebrates, creative kids who are often overlooked or deemed troublemakers. The good Captain is often a first stop for me when I meet a new friend who tells me they don't like reading. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Two Boys Kissing

    2013 by Levithan, David

    This book weaves together events that occur in the lives of several gay teens while two former lovers attempt to break the world's record for the longest kiss. The book gives us some insight of what means to be a gay teen, though it never has the intention to tell the story of all gay teens. This slim book packs a punch and is thought provoking. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • This One Summer

    2014 by Tamaki, Mariko

    This is a slice of life of lazy summer days, but it gradually unfolds into a complex narrative of a fragile family trying to overcome a loss and Rose's ambivalence toward growing up. The artwork is visually stunning. The muted tones of the monochromatic blue-on-white illustrations are perfectly suited to the story's ambiance. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Prince & Knight

    2018 by Haack, Daniel

    An utterly charming rhyming fairy tale wherein a prince and a knight fall in love after defeating a dragon together. Anyone in a long-term relationship knows how challenging it can be to work on a treacherous project with your partner! That's true love. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • The Catcher in the Rye

    1979 by Salinger, J. D.

    Written in 1951, this novel by J.D. Salinger is ground zero for teenage malaise. Holden Caufield is more icon than character now, 70 some years after first appearing in print, but he's also still raw and authentic, and the narrative remains one of the most brilliant depictions of floundering, angst-riddled adolescence. Suggested by Chris.

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