10 Books Utah Politicians Don’t Want You to Read

Join the ACLU of Utah’s Banned Book Club by reading these 10 books facing bans and challenges in Utah schools.

Book bans are nothing new. Throughout history, certain books have come under fire for content deemed inappropriate or controversial — often, that content is by and about people of color, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized groups. As censorship of discussions about race, gender identity, and sexual orientation continues happening in schools, books on the same topics are targets for challenges and bans in public schools and libraries right here in Utah.

This year, we want Utahns to be prepared to protect their right to learn. One way to do that is by reading the books facing bans or challenges on our ACLU of Utah Banned Books Club Reading List. Read about the books below. 

NOTE: The following list includes books that have been formally removed or were recently challenged for removal from public schools or libraries.

ACLU of Utah Banned Book Club Reading List:

Catch 22, by Joseph Heller


Catch-22 is a tragicomic novel detailing the efforts of a man named Yossarian, a US Army Air Force captain, to avoid flying any more combat missions. The novel takes place on Pianosa, a small Italian island near Rome, at the end of the Second World War.

Forever, by Judy Blume 

Forever by Judy Blume

Forever... is a 1975 young adult novel by Judy Blume. The novel tells the story of 18-year-old Katherine's sexual awakening and relationship with her first love, Michael. The novel follows their relationship as it evolves and ultimately ends in the months leading up to college. Forever... has been celebrated for its honest and healthy depiction of teenage sexuality and banned in some schools and libraries for its explicit sexual content. Important themes include the Exploration of Sexual Identity, The Challenges of First Love, and How Perspectives on Love Change as people grow up. 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Handmaid Tale

In Margaret Atwood's dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. 

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

The bluest eyes

Published in 1970, "The Bluest Eye" was Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison's first novel. Its 11-year-old protagonist, Pecola Breedlove, copes with racism and sexual abuse as she comes of age in 1940s Ohio. Despite its status as a seminal work by one of the foremost authors in American history, the book has been a frequent target of bans for content described as "sexually explicit material," "disturbing language," and an "underlying socialist-communist agenda." 

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Looking for Alaska

"Looking for Alaska" follows the story of Miles "Pudge" Halter, a teenager who leaves his mundane life in Florida to attend Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama. At Culver Creek, Pudge makes new friends and becomes infatuated with the enigmatic Alaska Young. Through a series of events, Pudge and his friends experience the ups and downs of adolescence, ultimately facing a tragic loss that forces them to confront the meaning of life and their own identities. The themes explored in the novel include the search for meaning and purpose, the complexities of human relationships, and the process of coming of age. 

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sánchez 

I am not your perfect mexican daughter

Published in 2017, Erika L. Sánchez's first novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a young adult coming-of-age story set in contemporary Chicago. The story is told from the perspective of 15-year-old Julia Reyes as she navigates her grief and struggles with mental health, her familial relationships, and cultural expectations when her older sister Olga unexpectedly dies. 

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, by Rob Sanders (Picture book) 

Pride (Story of Harvey Milk)

In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today's world. 

I am Jazz, By Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings (picture book)

I am Jazz

The story of a transgender child is based on Jazz Jennings's real-life experience. who has become a spokesperson for trans kids everywhere.

Shine, by Lauren Myracle


When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who did it in her small town. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale in a brilliant mystery. Competent, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The perks of being a wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age epistolary novel by American writer Stephen Chbosk. The novel follows Charlie, an introverted and observant child, through his freshman year of high school in a Pittsburgh suburb. The novel details Charlie's unconventional thinking style as he navigates between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood and attempts to deal with poignant questions spurred by his interactions with his friends and family. 

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