11 Challenged and Banned Books

The American Library Associations Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles an annual list of the most challenged and banned books. Normally, that list is only ten titles long, but this year’s list includes eleven titles, some of which were even burned by censors! Let’s take a look…

George by Alex Gino

Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints

Captain Underpants series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey

Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references

Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations

Skippyjon Jones series, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner

Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

ALA OIF tracked tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials in 2018, targeting 483 books, programming, displays, and more. In 2018, many of the attacks against reading were aimed at LGBQIA+ content, political viewpoint, and sexual content.

For the current most challenged list and previous year’s lists, visit the ALA website here. ALA has also provided infographics, shelftalkers, and more about this year’s list here. Find out about the challenges faced by America’s libraries with the State of America’s Libraries Report 2019 here. Find images, infographics, and more on OIF’s free downloads webpage!

One Comment On “11 Challenged and Banned Books”

  1. I find this list extremely upsetting – I cannot fathom the BURNING or banning of books. As a Children’s and Young People’s Public librarian based in the UK I try and ensure that the books on our shelves are representative of the whole community. That means having books with LGBTQIA+ content (including picture books for the very young), books featuring characters from all races and religious backgrounds, characters that may have a perceived disability or those that don’t conform to stereotypical gender interests, books that ask children and teenagers to question and challenge authority, books that promote empathy and yes books where the characters are naughty. I know that the UK is different from the United States and we don’t have the facility for people or groups to challenge the what’s on the shelves but in more than 10 years of working in this role the only comments we have received regarding the shelf content has either been praise from local teachers/parents/children for having titles they want (sometimes not enough but budgets!) or small queries usually regarding sexual content of teen books. But books are only ever removed in line with our stock weeding policies (mainly based around condition).

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