This list of banned nonfiction books covers a wide range of topics, from civil rights to personal resilience and identity. They are thought-provoking and examine human experiences from diverse perspectives. During Banned Books Week, take the time to pick up a classic, share a book with another reader and celebrate the stories that need to be told!

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

An impactful read that will stick with you, The Diary of a Young Girl is a remarkable account of a thirteen-year-old and her family during the Holocaust. Her infamous words exemplifying resilience, hope and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. These intimate diary entries capture Anne’s everyday moments, ideas, and dreams tenderly contrasting one of history’s darkest times.

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X

A thought-provoking account of Malcolm X’s transformation from a troubled youth to a dynamic civil rights leader, this autobiographical book offers a candid examination of racial injustice in America. This book is fundamental reading as its teachings are applicable today.

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The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

This book is a compelling examination of racial bias ingrained within the criminal justice system. This is a must-read that highlights systemic racism and its indelible impact on communities of color. Through historical examples of institutionalized racism, readers are challenged with the harsh reality.

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

This beautifully written memoir explores Maya Angelou’s early life filled with both tragedy and triumph. Through her lyrical prose, readers witness a harrowing journey towards self-discovery and resilience. Angelou’s vulnerability makes this an unforgettable story that echoes decades later.

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Soul on Ice

Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

Soul on Ice is a raw and provocative collection of essays providing a unique perspective on the Black liberation in the 1960s. His unfiltered exploration of race, politics, and sexuality challenges conventional thinking. This unique account differs from other civil rights leaders with its grit and graphic content.

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Wall’s gripping memoir exposes her tumultuous upbringing in a nomadic family. This inspiring read demonstrates her resilience and ability to rise above adversity. The Glass Castle examines parenthood, unconditional love, and forgiveness.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot’s captivating work amplifies the story of Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells revolutionized medical research and highlights unethical practices and racial biases. It’s a fascinating exploration of medical ethics, the exploitation of communities of color, and the Lacks’ family history.

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I am Malala

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Malala’s inspiring memoir recounts her unwavering advocacy for girls’ education in Pakistan. Her remarkable journey from a Taliban attack survivor to a global symbol of strength and female empowerment is a tale for the ages. This memoir explores the history of Pakistan, the role of women, the power of religion, and the tenderness of love.

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This Book Is Gay

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

In a candid and informative style, Dawson explores the complexities of sexuality and gender identity. This inclusive guide provides essential insights into LGBTQIA+ issues for all readers. In a time when individuals have questions and feel bound by political ideologies, this book is an answer.

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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

This heartbreaking historical account sheds light on the tragic events of the American West from the perspective of Indigenous individuals. Brown’s vivid storytelling exposes the injustices – battles, broken treaties, and massacres – endured by Indigenous communities throughout the centuries that is often omitted from American history.

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Stamped From the Beginning

Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi wrote a deeply insightful narrative, tracing the evolution of racist ideologies and policies. Kendi’s comprehensive work examines the history of racism in America from its inception to present-day. An absolute must-read for all readers.

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The Feminine Mystique

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

This book is a groundbreaking exploration of the role and expectations of women in post-World War II America. This book challenged the feminine mystique that confined women to traditional domestic roles. The famous book is known for empowering readers to reconsider their worth and redefine the position in society.

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