Stack of books wrapped in chains representing banned or challenged books
Sound Off on Censorship: Listens for Banned Books Week

During Banned Books Week (September 18th to September 24th), we’re joining the rest of the literary community to celebrate freedom of speech and to stand up for the right to hear powerful stories. The titles below are the audio editions of the most frequently and recently challenged or banned books, and also some of the most highly acclaimed. Proudly declare that you listen to banned books!

In late August 1619, a ship arrived in Virginia bearing a cargo of enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, narrated by a full cast, reveals truths around our nation’s founding and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape American life.

In Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison follows Milkman Dead from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, and introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized Black world.

Author: Nic Stone
Read By: Dion Graham

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates, so he looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers in Dear Martin.

Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. In Out of Darkness, consequences can be explosive.

On the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

Author: Maya Angelou
Read By: Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. Maya Angelou’s memoir captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.

The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” In His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman takes listeners to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.

Author: Judy Blume
Read By: Halley Feiffer

Blubber is a good name for her, the note from Wendy says about Linda. Jill crumples it up and leaves it on the corner of her desk. But Robby grabs the note, and it makes its way around the classroom. There’s something about Linda that makes a lot of kids in her fifth-grade class want to see how far they can go — but nobody, least of all Jill, expects the fun to end where it does.

Melinda Sordino knows she’s an outcast. She retreats into her head. But it’s not so comfortable in her head, either; there’s something banging around in there that she doesn’t want to think about. Try as she might to avoid it, it won’t go away, until there is a painful confrontation. Once that happens, she can’t be silent — she must Speak.