Document Type


Date of Completion

Fall 12-12-2022



Academic Major


Faculty Advisor

Amy Qualls, Ph.D.


Censorship is not new to current issues. It has affected authors and speakers for centuries, but it is especially prevalent today, especially in schools. Teachers and librarians are often challenged for the materials they choose to provide to students. Concerned parents object to the materials for containing sexual content, profanity, or LGBTQ+ characters or themes. This study aims to answer the question, “What role, if any, do books containing controversial topics serve in the literature classrooms of today’s students?” To answer this question, the author of this study conducted a literary analysis on the top three most banned books of the 2021-2022 year: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. During this analysis, the author considered the books holistically and how the most controversial sections affected the overall message. The study closely looks at the impact of these works on readers and how their personal experiences might bring deeper understanding to the text through reader-response theory.

Through this research, the study concluded that these books contained beneficial messages to readers, so long as they are handled with care. Each book is recommended for a specific age group and classroom setting, and the author emphasizes the importance of addressing sensitive materials with thoughtful consideration. Based on this information, the author makes applications to policy and teacher preparation. The study concludes with a personal reflection from the author which discusses the Christian perspective of handling controversial literature.