Welcome to Maisie's Banned Book Club
For ages 10 to 18
What is the Banned Book Club?
This Banned Book Club is a teen-led program focused on reading and learning from books that are banned in school districts across the United States. Spearheaded by our delightful book junkie, Maisie, a sophomore in Westchester County, New York, The Bittermelon is excited to welcome fellow youth across the country on a journey exploring tough realities and thoughts that we might have never considered!
Check out the upcoming book selection below or by clicking here.
Why Banned Books?
Books are often banned because they contain subject material that is deemed to be inappropriate, even though many teenagers today go through similar issues. These books can be very controversial, but they are harsh truths that teens need to know. Furthermore, book banning disproportionately affects authors who are minorities, making it harder for teens of ethnic minorities to access books that can teach them the knowledge to deal with touching issues.
When will the Club meet?
Maisie's Banned Book Club starts a new book on the first Sunday of every month! We meet every other Sunday via Zoom from 4:30PM to 5:30 PM. A Zoom link will be sent by email the day before each kickoff.
Current March Book
All Boys Aren't Blue
by George M. Johnson
"I chose this All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson as it represents the real experiences of a black queer man. The struggles of being black and queer individually are two extremely tough and underrepresented groups of people, however it is the intersectionality of the two that makes this book even more important. This book tells the real, modern stories and experiences of George M. Johnson." - Maisie
Since its publication in 2020, All Boys Aren't Blue has been banned and challenged in countless school districts across the United States for its LGBTQ content, profanity, and because of the fact that it has been considered to be sexually explicit. Johnson, who is nonbinary, has faced large amounts of backlash even as the book soars in popularity. Despite this, All Boys Aren't Blue continues to be a book that gives students agency, helping them to find who they are and to feel safe and validated.
Get a 10% discount on George M. Johnson's book at
Hudson Valley Books for Humanity bookstore when you mention "The Bittermelon" or "Maisie's Banned Book Club"!
Buy locally online at Bookshop!
The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
"I chose this book for its representation of the effect of internalized racism, this being portrayed through an eleven year old black girl during the great depression. The book talks about the unattainable white beauty standards and the societal standards for black peoples. The book also deals with graphic subjects such as molestation and rape, which are sensitive, but important topics." - Maisie
Toni Morrison has established herself as a writer who does not shy away from uncomfortable and hard-to-tell stories. The Bluest Eye, her first novel, is certainly no exception. Since its publication in 1970, The Bluest Eye has consistently been in ALA's most challenged books for its depiction of racism, incest, and child sexual abuse. While parents and school boards have banned The Bluest Eye from classrooms around the U.S., many teachers and students continue to value the book for its African American representation and for its boldness in dealing with issues such as incest and violence.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
"I chose this book because indigenous people, who lived on this land for thousands of years, are now a marginalized group in the US, and this book tells the story of an indigenous teenager needing to assimilate to American culture. I think it is important to understand the perspectives of indigenous people in the land we now call America." - Maisie
Since its publication in 2007, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been the source of much controversy, becoming ALA's most challenged book from 2000 to 2009. This book has been banned in schools across America for its depiction of sexuality, violence, profanity and slurs relating to homosexuality and mental disability. In 2018, rumors began surfacing regarding Sherman Alexie's sexual misconduct towards women authors, adding to the controversy of his career and his works.