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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Top 11 Challenged, Banned and Removed Books from Libraries and Schools in 2018

Posted By on Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 3:58 PM

  • Photo courtesy Unsplash
The final week in September is Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-28 this year). And to raise awareness for the event, the American Library Association publishes an annual list of the most challenged books from the previous year, compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, “in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.”

However, these Top 10 lists — the list for 2018 actually features 11 books — are not a comprehensive report of the actual extent of challenged books. According to the ALA, 82 to 97 percent of requests to remove books and materials from schools and libraries go unreported or are reported later.

The goal of the week — launched after the 1982 Island Trees School District v. Pico Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials cannot ban books in school libraries just because of their content — is to raise awareness and support “of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” That same year (1982), the American Booksellers Association displayed 500 challenged books stacked inside of cages at their BookExpo America trade show with a label cautioning attendees that some considered these tomes “dangerous.” That exhibit prompted the ABA to join forces with the OIF to launch Banned Books Week, which has been reporting the Top 10 most challenged books each year since 2001.

The most challenged books list from 2018 distilled challenges to 483 materials in libraries, schools and universities to the following books and reasons why.

1. George by Alex Gino

Challenged/banned/removed 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.”

2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, Illustrated by EG Keller

Banned/challenged for “including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints”

3. Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey

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.”

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Banned/challenged because “ it was deemed ‘anti-cop,’ and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references.

5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Banned/challenged because it includes “LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.”

6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Banned/challenged/restricted because it addresses teen suicide.

7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Banned/challenged for “profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations.”

8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachne

Challenged for “depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture.”

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

Banned/challenged because of its “sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint.”

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

Challenged and burned for its LGBTQIA+ content.

11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Challenged and burned for its LGBTQIA+ content.

If you’d like to confidentially report a challenge to a book, movie, music, magazine or other content — or issues with additional services, hate crimes and access at libraries or schools — you can visit

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