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Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020

The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  1. George by Alex Gino

Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”

  1. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people

  1. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”

  1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity

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

Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author

  1. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience

  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students

  1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message


Other banned books that you might have heard about, you might have read, and/or you might want to read: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Ulysses by James Joyce, Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Maus, by Art Spiegelman, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.


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