In this post to celebrate banned books week, we share the 10 most challenged titles of 2019.
What is Banned Books Week?
‘Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals.’ (via)
Banned Books Week is the book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. This year the week is celebrated from 27 September-3 October 2020.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookshops and libraries.
The ALA (American Library Association) says: ‘A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported.’
The 10 Most Challenged Titles Of 2019
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and 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”.
- 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.
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and 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”.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”.
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”.
- 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.
- And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content.
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