Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books

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My kids aren’t reading like they used to. It’s not good. But, I have a plan . . . I’m going to entice them with the controversy of banned books. In fact, I think the emotional tug of unfairness and lack of choice will motivate your tweens and teens, too. Because there’s nothing more resonating to kids than unfairness. And when books are banned, it’s unfair.

Kids want choice. Kids want fairness.

At our house, I’m seeing too much screen time and not enough reading. I want to see more reading. Not to mention, more thoughtful reading.

What about your kids? If you need a hook, try the idea of the banned books with me!

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books

The idea of banning books is a great discussion to have with kids anyway. There are plenty of historical examples of book banning to discuss. Talk about the main reasons for book banning like sex, language, violence, and certain kinds of content and why parents or leaders might seek banning.

As for me, I want my kids to be able to self-censor. It’s my job to teach them to be thinkers. Then, when I’m not around, they will learn to make their own choices. They’ll learn for themselves what they prefer to read and not read.

Of course, I think school librarians and teachers should be discriminating in choosing what books are available for their students. Certainly. Clearly, it’s not a good idea to have a bomb making book on the shelves when there are plenty of other, incredible book options.

But banning is more than a careful discrimination. It’s a formal prohibiting of specific books. I dislike banning since it’s not trusting readers (and teacher and librarians) to make their own choices.

So what controversial banned books might entice tweens and teens to read? I have a list! Keep reading.

And when my child picks a book, I’m asking them to read with a discerning eye. My big question will be this: can they figure out what might be controversial about the book?

Parents, if you’re concerned about any of these books, read the book with or to your child. See what amazing discussions you can have! (See my post and the interesting comment thread about my debate about if I should let my 10-year old daughter read The Hunger Games.)

I purposefully did not include why these books were banned. Do you want that or do you want to decide for yourself? If you want to learn specific reasons for each book’s banning, visit the ALA site here.

Banned Books for Tweens (ages 9 – 12)

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
Harry Potter
by J.K. Rowling

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
Drama
by Raina Telgemeier

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
Bone
by Jeff Smith

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman

Banned Books for Teens (ages 13+)


Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Hook Your Tweens and Teens on Reading Banned Books
Crank
by Ellen Hopkins

Need more ideas? See the top 100 banned books from 2000 – 2009 here.

What do you think about this idea for your reluctant readers?

get your tweens and teens excited about reading with banned books

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  • WELCOME

    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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