About the Challenged Works List
This selective list, prepared by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council, provides information on more than 100 books, magazines and other written works that have been challenged in the past decades. Each challenge sought to limit public access to the works in schools, libraries, or bookstores. Some challenges were upheld; others were rejected. We have tried to update our research on unresolved challenges.
Because some challenges are dismissed, the books remain on library shelves or curriculum lists. We think it worthwhile to include such instances because the effect of a controversy over print material can spread, even though the would-be book-banners lose. A book with a controversial reputation tends to be quietly dropped from reading lists and curricula. This interference can be most insidious — quiet acquiescence to the kind of scare tactics that would-be censors know how to employ.
Because organizations and community groups that ask for book and magazine bans generally want to avoid public controversies, it is often difficult to discover why challenges are launched or what becomes of them. If you know of book challenges or, better still, satisfactory resolutions anywhere in Canada, please use our online form to report a challenge to the Freedom of Expression Committee.