Join the Banned: 10 Great Vocal Performances of Taboo Text

In honor of Banned Books Week, Audible editor Katie shares a shortlist of personal favorites.

Since 1982, the American Library Association has been celebrating our freedom to read with its annual Banned Books Week. This year's theme, Censorship Divides Us, Books Unite Us, is a wonderful reminder of the sense of community a great listen can invoke. There are many reasons for a book to get banned, but no matter the genre, these voices and points of view deserve to be heard. Here are just a few of my favorite—and frequently banned—listens.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed...

George

George

George has a secret: she's really a girl. Only no one can see or understand this. When her class puts on a production of Charlotte's Web, George confides in her best friend Kelly, and together they hatch a plan—maybe if the audience can see George as Charlotte, they'll understand that George is really a girl. Jamie Clayton's narration infuses magic into this story about finding your voice and the courage to be who you really are, a message that the whole family can enjoy.

All American Boys

All American Boys

A bag of chips. That's all 16-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo....

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father risks everything to defend a Black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Speak

Speak

From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she's an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops....

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time....

Being Jazz

Being Jazz

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. Named one of the 25 Most Influential Teens of the Year by Time, Jennings shares her very public transgender journey as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul.

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove—a Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America....

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