Banned Books: Teen Graphic Novels

Is your teenager reluctant about reading? Would they rather pick up a comic book and page through the pictures? If so, these graphic novels may be a hit with your teens this Banned Books Week! 

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Thompson recalls growing up in a religious family in rural Wisconsin, particularly his affectionate tussles with his younger brother, with whom he shared a bed and the titular blankets. A few years later, he experiences the painful intensity of first love with Raina, a girl from Michigan he meets at a regional church camp. When the pair are separated, his loss of faith in his love for Raina presages his later loss of religious faith.

Why it was banned: deemed to have “obscene images” relating to youth sexuality 



Callie loves the theater, even if she can’t sing well enough to perform in her beloved musicals. But when drama and romance both onstage and off cause problems, Callie finds that set design may be the easiest part of putting on a play. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: Deemed “sexually explicit” for a same-sex kiss between two boys.

This title is available as an ebook on Libby.  


In his powerful debut graphic novel, Curato, best known for the Little Elliot picture books, tells the story of one transformative week of Boy Scout camp in 1995, in which chubby, awkward Filipino American Aiden wrestles with the growing realization that he’s gay. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: Deemed “pornographic” for its representation of “alternate sexualities,” a censorship dog whistle for homosexuality.

This title is available as an ebook on Libby. 

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 

Sandman, Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes

Neil Gaiman’s seminal graphic novel series starter imagines a world where a wizard, attempting to bargain with Death for eternal life, accidentally traps Death’s younger brother Dream instead. Once Dream escapes, he begins a quest for his lost objects of power.

Why it was banned: Gaiman’s graphic novel has been challenged and removed from some libraries because of “anti-family themes,” “offensive language,” and for being “unsuited for age group.” 

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby or as an eBook on Hoopla. 

This One Summer

Rose and her parents spend every summer at their lakeside cabin in Awago, right down the path from Rose’s best friend, Windy, and her family. They spend lazy days collecting rocks on the beach, riding bikes, swimming, and having barbecues. But this summer, Rose’s parents are constantly fighting, and her mother seems resentful and sad. (Booklist)

Why it was banned: Challenged for inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters, drug use, and profanity.

This title is available as an ebook on Libby.