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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Growing up, I found books to be a form of escape and entertainment. Many women write books to educate, entertain, give hope, scare, and even warn against what they think could be the future. Due to some strong themes and explicit writing, some of these books have been banned. Thats right… banned. I never considered that a book could be banned, or why it would even be published to later be considered banned ’til after high school. I’ve learned now that some people in charge are scared of what these cool ladies are trying to protest or inspire. In light of Women’s History Month, here are some banned books I’ve read that make me feel hella mischievous since they’re banned, but also sad because of their content.

1. The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood

I’m sure many of you have heard of or even watched the hit Hulu series, The Handmaid’s Tale, but I have some news for you, bestie: it’s based on a book published over two decades ago. One of Atwood’s striking remarks about this book has often been the fact that she claims everything she wrote is based on true events. The book takes place in Gilead and follows the main character Offred who has no choice but to obey new laws that are not at all in her favor. She is stripped of her home, husband, child, and freedom. Her role is decided by “religious” oppression where she is turned into a “Handmaid”. Offred’s story is heartbreaking, and a reminder of the power governments all over the world have. While reading this book I knew it was not banned for its religious or sexual content, but for its idea of warning: we could be next. I recommend this book if you like dystopian societies and history; unfortunately, it’s nothing like The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner, but Atwood’s writing is sure to inspire you. BTW, if you want to read this, it’s free on Kindle (that’s how I read it)!

2. The bluest eye by toni morrison

When I say this book is not for the light-hearted, I mean it. This book follows the lives of young African American girls navigating life after WWII. It calls to attention the irony of the USA’s participation in the war while still allowing a domestic racist agenda towards American people of color. Morrison writes through the eyes of children, highlighting the horrible reality of what low-class citizens in the 1970s had to endure. My heart broke reading this book because of the innocence of children not understanding the reason why they are being mistreated, and the struggle of wanting to be simply loved and allowed to play. The corruption that society has embedded in beauty standards even today is unfortunately evident in this novel. Morrison challenges the history you think you know as she exposes the terrible treatment of women and POC with her characters Pecola Breedlove, and sisters Claudia and Frieda Macteer, who are no older than 12 years old.

3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I read this book in my 8th-grade English class and cried. This book spotlights a high school freshman, Melinda Sordino after she experiences sexual assault at a party. I think this book is a scary reality for a lot of people, and really highlights the injustice of the system not prioritizing mental health and survivors. Definitely trigger warning for this sensitive topic, but Anderson’s writing will tug those tears out of you, challenge you to reevaluate the treatment for these cases, and even give you ideas on how you can help or approach survivors. I really wonder why this book is being banned now, but I think it’s because of the portrayals of teen drinking and bias toward male students. Read it while you still can.

Abygail Pulido is a 2nd year at the University of Texas at Austin honing her craft for writing and pursuing her love for reading with a double major in English and Rhetorical Writing, she is also pursuing a certificate in Creative Writing. She is currently interning at the Harry Ransom Center in Visual Materials where she is learning about the curation process of exhibits and helping select class material. Abby's goal for her articles is to make academic and political topics digestable and fun to read. She loves Her Campus at Texas because its helped her to develop a voice and gain a connection with wonderful and diverse writers.