University of Southern Indiana's student publication | USI | student newspaper

The Shield

University of Southern Indiana's student publication | USI | student newspaper

The Shield

University of Southern Indiana's student publication | USI | student newspaper

The Shield

Five books that are banned around the world

Graphic by Alyssia DeWig
Banning books is not limited to the United States. Other countries have their own list of banned books.

Banned Books Week, Oct. 1-7, is a time when we put a spotlight on books that have been suppressed by governments and schools around the world. Banning books can be argued to be a stifiling of rights and liberties to consume the media we so choose. So in honor of Banned Books Week, here are five books that are not only challenged in the U.S. but also in countries around the world. 

“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

“And Tango Makes Three,” written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, is an American children’s book published April 26, 2005. (Cover courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

If you’re looking for a cute, quick and heartwarming read, “And Tango Makes Three” might be the book for you. 

And Tango Makes Three” is a lovable children’s book written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole. The story follows Roy and Silo, two male penguins who live in the Central Park Zoo and start a family together with the help of a friendly zookeeper. 

This book was banned on account of same-sex marriage, adoption and displays of homosexuality in wildlife. This book was considered the fourth-most challenged book from 2000-2009. 

“DRAMA” by Raina Telgemeier

“Drama,” written by Raina Telgemeier, was published Sept. 1, 2012. (Cover Courtesy of GoRaina)

On the same beat as cute and comfy books, if you’re looking for fun, easy reading the challenged graphic novel “DRAMA” might be the book for you. 

Authored and illustrated by American cartoonist Raina Telgemeier, “DRAMA” surrounds the life of Callie, a 7th-grade theater kid navigating through her teen years. Like many middle schoolers, Callie is faced with issues of friendship, crushes, sexuality, inclusivity and many more. 

“DRAMA” was placed as the seventh most challenged book between the years  2010-2019 by the American Library Association due to its inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters. 

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, is a short story published in the New Yorker June 26, 1945. (Cover courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

If you’re looking to get in the spooky season spirit this chilling short story is sure to do the trick. 

Published in The New Yorker, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is about a rural American town with some backward rituals to ensure a bountiful harvest. 

At the time of its publishing, “The Lottery” was criticized and frequently banned due to its criticism of conformity and mob mentality during the surge of American nationalism as a response to the second Red Scare from 1947-1957. 


“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

“Animal Farm,” written by George Orwell, was published in England Aug. 17, 1945. It is about farm animals overthrowing a farmer and starting a new government on the farm. (Cover courtesy of Penguin Books)

The iconic farmhouse dystopian novella by George Orwell is an immersive and fast-paced exciting read for all ages and reading levels. 

The story follows a group of anthropomorphized farm animals who overthrow their oppressive farmer to create a utopia where animals are free equals. This utopia finds corruption under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon. 

“Animal Farm” has been banned in the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, the United Arab Emirates and many African countries. Its challenging of communism and communist attitudes, insubordinate nature, and comically so, talking pigs, led to its ban in many countries.

“Beloved” by Toni Morrison

“Beloved” by Tomi Morrison, was published Sept. 16, 1987. (Cover courtesy of Penguin Random House)

This novel is, above all else, heavy. Toni Morrison tackles salient topics that provoke a whirlwind of emotions. A truly haunting read that is a must on many bookworms’ lists. 

Following the American Civil War, Sethe, an enslaved woman, is put in a difficult position concerning the fate of her young daughter. Exploring the effects of slavery on multiple generations, this novel derives from the true story of Margaret Garner who faced similar dilemmas.

“Beloved” was banned in many schools and libraries due to its high levels of violence, racial themes, sexuality and supernatural elements. Despite its restrictions, “Beloved” won a Nobel Prize in 1993.