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Banned Books Week

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”
  2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
  3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning
  4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    Reasons: challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate” 
  5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
    Reasons: challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
  6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
  8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
  9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
    Reasons: banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals
  10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
    Reason: challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content
Where do challenges take place? 66% Public libraries. 19% School libraries. 12% Schools. 2% Academia. 1% Special/prison libraries. Statistics based on 377 responses
Reasons for Challenges. LGBTQIA+ content. Sexually explicit. Political viewpoint. Violence. Graphic Illustrations. Gender dysphoria. Transgender character. Religious viewpoint. Biased. Inaccurate. Anti-police. Sex education. Nudity. Profanity. Fake News.
607 Total materials affected in censorship attempts in 2019 (including books, films, newspapers). +14% Increase from last year.
Who Initiates Challenges? 13% Board/ administration. 12% Political/religious groups. 8% Librarians/teachers. 3% Elected officials. 1% Students. Statistics based on 361 responses.
What is a challenge? Attempt to remove or restrict materials or services based on content. What is a ban? Removal of materials or cancellation of services based on content.
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges in 2019. Here’s the breakdown: 56% Books, 22% Programs & meeting rooms, 9% Displays & artwork, 8% Films, 5% Other (Includes social media, hate crimes, games, filtering, databases, newspapers, magazines).