The books on our booklists have each been carefully selected from a big stack of books we review each week.
But we’d like to also share some of the books that we do not recommend and how critiques have led to recalls or revisions.
At our Social Justice Books website, we feature more than 90 booklists and 500 book reviews. The books are selected and reviewed by our staff/volunteers and a variety of trusted children’s literature websites.
In November, 2022, we added “not recommended” reviews to the bottom of each booklist by theme, starting with Africa, American Indians, Environment, and Immigration.
Find all of our book reviews by rating, theme, and reading level, as well as a sortable archive.
Below is a list of our NOT recommended books to date.
Reviews in Action
In 2016, Edi Campbell critiqued A Birthday Cake for George Washington, a picture book about Hercules, the chef who was enslaved by the president. The review led to campaign by a coalition of groups including Teaching for Change. Under pressure, Scholastic recalled the book.
In 2018, we were successful in convincing Junot Díaz and his publisher to revise the illustrations of the monster in Islandborn.
The author of Pies From Nowhere made thoughtful edits after reading a review we posted by SNCC veteran Judy Richardson.
- Abigail the Whale by Davide Cali
- Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
- Banana-Leaf Ball, The by Katie Smith Milway
- Best Mariachi in the World by J. D. Smith
- Bike Like Sergio’s, A by Maribeth Boelts
- Birthday Cake for George Washington, A by Ramin Ganeshram
- Brave, The by James Bird
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Cheyenne Again by Eve Bunting
- Counting Kindness by Hollis Kurman
- District Comics by Matt Dembicki
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier
- Gbagba by Robtel Neajai Pailey
- Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
- Greta and the Giants by Zoë Tucker
- Greta Thunberg (Little People, Big Dreams Series) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
- I Am Birch by Scott Kelley
- Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Juan Pablo and the Butterflies by JJ Flowers
- kimotinâniwiw itwêwina / Stolen Words by Melanie Florence
- Kiska by John Smelcer
- Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas
- Lovable Lyle by Bernard Waber
- Mangrove Tree, The by Cindy Trumbore, Susan L. Roth
- Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert by Gary D. Schmidt
- Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams Series) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
- Master George’s People by Marfe Ferguson Delano
- Medicine Wheel, The by Teddy Anderson
- Miseducation of Cameron Post, The by Emily M. Danforth
- My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
- My Heart is on the Ground by Ann Rinaldi
- My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
- Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson
- Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
- Painting for Peace in Ferguson by Carol Swartout Klein
- Passion for Elephants, A by Toni Buzzeo
- Peace Book, The by Todd Parr
- President Donald Trump by Joanne Mattern
- Quest for Z, The by Greg Pizzoli
- Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
- Rosa Parks (Little People, Big Dreams Series) by Lisbeth Kaiser
- Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
- Secret Project, The by Jonah Winter
- Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
- Stonewall by Rob Sanders
- Teddy Roosevelt by Sharon Gayle
- Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
- We Are a Garden by Lisa Westberg Peters
- Werewolf Named Oliver James, A by Nicholas John Frith
- When Rosa Parks Went Fishing by Rachel Ruiz
- Woman Who Outshone the Sun, The by Alejandro Cruz Martinez
- World Needs More Purple People, The by Kristen Bell, Benjamin Hart
- Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon
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