Banned books to read over winter break


Alexa Bu

If you are bored this Winter Break, consider reading a banned book from this list. Books are often banned by school districts for containing controversial topics.

What do “The Hate You Give”, “Malcolm X”, “The Tell Tale Heart”, etc. all have in common? They have all been banned books at one point.

The Texas legislature recently passed HB 3979, which requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing controversial issues. This has led to instances such as with the Carroll Independent School District advising teachers that if they want to have a book on the Holocaust in the classroom, they also need to include a book with an opposing perspective.

This obviously presents a moral dilemma for teachers who either don’t know any opposing perspectives on the Holocaust or don’t want to introduce those views to students, leading to teachers deciding it would be easier to not include books on any controversial topics in their classrooms.

The issue arises when you ask yourself what topics are considered ‘controversial.’ Most often, banned books are those that include themes of sexuality, drugs, racism and abuse.

By keeping these important topics out of classrooms, we are denying our children the opportunity to learn about relevant topics of our time. Under education on these topics is what perpetuates bigotry. Children are our future; by allowing them to learn about homophobia, racism, abusive relationships, and drug abuse, they will be less likely to commit those offenses as an adult.

Sadly, these opportunities are being denied to students by lawmakers who would rather avoid tough issues than tackle them head-on.

This winter break, consider taking the time to read one of these banned books to educate oneself and fight censorship.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“The Hate U Give” was banned by Katy ISD for language and violence. It was removed from middle school libraries and is only kept in high school libraries. The violence in the book centers around police brutality and the effects it has on black communities. It follows the life of 16-year-old Starr Carter who witnesses her childhood friend Khalil get shot by a police officer.

Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Meyers

‘Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary’ was banned by Blum ISD because it was religiously, socially, and politically offensive. This book is a critically acclaimed biography of the civil rights activist Malcom X. A great read for those who want to learn more about black history, the Civil Rights Movement and institutionalized racism.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

“The Tell-Tale Heart” was banned by Poth ISD. This is a book by the legendary author Edgar Allen Poe for those looking for a riveting read about a man who grapples with the guilt of murder.

I Survived (The Attacks of September 11, 2001) by Lauren Tarshis

This book was restricted in elementary schools by New Braunfels ISD because the word ‘terrorist’ was used. This book is an easy read for history buffs looking to learn more about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Black Butler (Vol. 5 and 6) by Yana Toboso

“Black Butler” was banned by Harmony ISD because it was ‘offensive to religious sensibilities’ due to its witchcraft, satanic and occult themes. The books were destroyed by a third party and the schools were reimbursed for the cost. This is great for all the anime lovers who want something to read over the break. The story follows a superhuman butler who faces many foes.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

“I Am Malala” was banned by Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD for language and religious references. An edited version of the book is available to students; although, it has been removed from reading lists. “I Am Malala” is an autobiography by Malala Yousafzai about her time in Pakistan when the Taliban were taking over. This would be a good read for those interested in feminism.