DK’s Banned Books Profiles the Most Controversial Texts Throughout History

By Kaitlyn Spotts | September 7 2022 | GeneralEducation & Professional LearningEnglish Language ArtsFavorite Authors & Series

While censorship of one form or another has always plagued society as the definitions of what is “acceptable” in published works have shifted over time and all over the world, book bans and challenges in the US have doubled between 2020 and 2021, according to the American Library Association.

This surge in challenged books is in line with an escalation in censorship that sees content focusing on race, sexuality, and gender identity put at risk in public schools and libraries. This is a terrifying development that removes access to these important works from anyone who can’t afford to purchase them, or anyone who struggles to find acceptance within their home and looks to books to find that acceptance.

Out now is DK’s Banned Books, which delves into why some of the most famous books in history were once deemed too controversial for public consumption and profiles a selection of the most infamous, intriguing, and controversial books ever written. It is an exploration of the history of banned books, offering informative insights into society, politics, law, and religious belief through time and around the world. From the banning of All Quiet on the Western Front and the repeated suppression of On the Origin of Species, to the uproar provoked by Lady Chatterley’s Lover, entries offer a fascinating chronological account of censorship, and shed light on the astonishing role that some banned books have played in changing history.

As a company, Penguin Random House is committed to protecting free expression and the right to read. As a division of Penguin Random House, DK is proud to stand with the rest of the company and is also a proud partner of ALA’s Unite Against Book Bans.

Banned Books Week has been held every year since 1982. It is a campaign to encourage readers to examine challenged literary works and to promote intellectual freedom in libraries, schools, and bookstores. It highlights the value of free and open access to information, in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas. The theme of this year’s event is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”



Are you a librarian, educator, parent, or creator being affected by book bans, or a concerned citizen looking to learn more and take action? Here are some resources from the PRH Banned Books Resources Hub that might help.


Resources for Educators


Resources for Librarians


Resources for Parents 


Resources for Students


Resources for Authors and Illustrators 


Banned Books
The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present
Discover the stories behind the most shocking and infamous books ever published.
$17.99 US
Aug 30, 2022
192 Pages