Banned Books: Teen Non-Fiction

Some of the most compelling nonfiction stories for teens are ones that center revolution and change. Those who always follow the rules rarely make history, and that goes for books as well! Channel your inner rebel and check out these teen nonfiction titles this Banned Books Week!


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All Boys Aren't Blue

With this title, Johnson offers his memoir-manifesto of growing up queer before he had the language to know exactly what that meant. Split into three parts, Johnson’s book shares intimate stories of his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood as he navigates family, friends, and the performance of masculinity. Discussion of his stories includes theory and statistical information that tie his ideas and struggles in with a larger intersectional identity. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: Deemed “sexually explicit” for profanity and LGBTQIA+ themes

This title is available as an ebook and an audiobook on Libby and as an audiobook on Hoopla. 


Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Kuklin’s book profiles six transgender teens in both their own words and the author’s excellent photographs. The result is a strikingly in-depth examination of the sometimes clinical complexities of being transgender, even as Kuklin’s empathy-inducing pictures put a human face on the experience. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: challenged for having “sexual content” and highlighting LGBTQIA+ themes 

This title is available as an ebook on Libby. 

Brave Face

Hutchinson lays bare his high-school and early college years his coming out, the resulting family tension, friendship difficulties, depression, self-harm, failed relationships, a suicide attempt in this razor-sharp, deeply revealing, and brutally honest exploration of growing up gay in the South amid an intolerant sociopolitical backdrop that seems hell bent on denying him a future. (Booklist) 

Why it was banned: deemed “not age-appropriate” due to themes of suicide and LGBTQIA+ issues 

This title is available as an ebook on Libby and an audiobook on Hoopla.  

The 57 Bus

Sasha, a genderqueer teen riding the 57 bus, was asleep when Richard Thomas, an African American teen, decided to play a prank by playing with a lighter by her skirt. But the skirt caught fire. Sasha spent grueling amounts of time in a hospital burn unit, and Richard spent the rest of his high-school career mired in a long trial and awaiting sentencing. In this true-crime tale, Slater excels at painting a humanistic view of both Sasha and Richard, especially in the aftermath of the crime. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: challenged for the depiction of LGBTQIA+ themes and several scenes of violence 

This title is available as an ebook on Libby and an audiobook on Hoopla. 

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

This is a father and daughter story: (…) Bruce Bechdel had the biggest impact on his eldest child and so is naturally the other main character in her autobiographical graphic novel. After disclosing her lesbianism in a letter home from college, Alison’s mother replied that her father was homosexual, too. Alison suddenly understood his legal trouble over buying a beer for a teenage boy, all the teen male “helpers” he had around the house, and his solo outings during family vacations to New York. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: Deemed “pornographic” for its discussion of homosexuality.



Satrapi’s great-grandfather was Iran’s last emperor, the one overthrown by the father of the shah overthrown in the 1979 Islamic revolution. (…) At first, the revolution freed an uncle who idolized her and some of her parents’ friends from prison, but soon the tide turned, and the former prisoners had to flee. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: at its initial publication, for the depiction of torture techniques used on Iranian dissidents; recent complaints centering around Islamophobia 

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Reynolds’ remix (of Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning) begins in 1415 and travels into the present in five well-paced sections, following the general outline of Kendi’s comprehensive title. Through figures like Cotton Mather, W. E. B Du Bois, and Angela Davis, among others, the thought patterns of segregationists, assimilationists, and antiracists, respectively, are elucidated, along with the impact such ideas have on all aspects of American life. (Booklist) 

Why it was banned: challenged for depictions of racism 

This title is available as an ebook and an audiobook on Libby. 

This Book Is Gay

Often breezy in tone but always informative, Dawson’s book is filled with facts and stories about being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or, as the author puts it, the full and infinite spectrum of sexual and gender identities. If you think this means the book is aimed at straight readers as well as gay ones, you would be right. (…) Illustrated with clever cartoon art, the book is generally upbeat while honestly acknowledging downsides of being LGBTQ, such as homophobia and bullying. (Booklist) 

Why it was banned: challenged for description of LGBTQIA+ issues 

This title is available as an ebook on Libby and as an ebook and audiobook on Hoopla.