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Banned or Challenged Books Kids Should Read

These top picks for children and teens for Banned Books Week – happening Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2012 – carry lots of lessons in life and imagination

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Some famous classic books, modern-day fiction novels and adventure stories land themselves on frequently challenged and banned books lists year after year. Yet these tomes still line our personal bookshelves – and many are used in southeast Michigan English and literature classrooms. So why do we still read them? Are they all "bad?"

"People want to read them for a variety of different reasons," says Jody Wolak, the children and teen librarian at Wayne Public Library.

"Some books that are often banned or challenged are some books that tell really imaginative stories that challenge the reader," she says, or they "encourage them to think about the world in a different way."

That's why from Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2012, book lovers across the nation celebrate Banned Books Week – an annual celebration dedicated to freely expressing ideas, the American Library Association says.

So join in the "forbidden" fun for the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week by reading one of these frequently banned and challenged books with your young reader.

Note: As always, parents should use their own judgment when allowing their kids to read challenged or banned books. Wolak suggests that if parents have concerns about a book, they should read it themselves – and then use it to open up discussions with their kids about its more controversial moments or their personal concerns.

For a list of possible discussion questions and parent reviews of each book on our list, click each title and visit CommonSenseMedia.org.

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