Banned Books Week – The 10 Most Challenged Titles Of 2020

Banned Books Week – The 10 Most Challenged Titles Of 2020


In this post to celebrate banned books week, we share the 10 most challenged titles of 2020.

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 26 September-2 October 2021.

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 2020

These were the 10 most challenged books in 2020.

  1. George by Alex Gino. Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting ‘the values of our community’.
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Reasons: 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.
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Reasons: 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’.
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Reasons: 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.
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author.
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. Reasons: Challenged for ‘divisive language’ and because it was thought to promote anti-police views.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a ‘white saviour’ character, and its perception of the Black experience.
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students.
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message.

Have a look at the most frequently banned titles in these years: 2019, 20182017201620152014201320122011

 by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

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