Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017 Released!

The State of America’s Libraries Report has been released, including the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2017:

‘Most challenges (formal attempts to remove or restrict access to library materials and services) go unreported. But a combination of publicity for the new reporting form used by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and outreach by state intellectual freedom committees resulted in a sharp increase in the number and types of challenges reported. Public challenges and bans rose from 45 in 2016 to 91 in 2017. These 91 cases are summarized and sourced in the ALA Field Report 2017: Banned and Challenged Books, published by OIF in April 2018.’

OIF tracked 354 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2017. Some individual challenges resulted in requests to restrict or remove multiple titles. Overall, 416 books were targeted. Here are the “Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2017”:

1. ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher. (Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.)

2. ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ by Sherman Alexie. (Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curricula because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.)

3. ‘Drama’ written and illustrated by Raina Telgmeier. (This Stonewall Honor Award–winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”)

4. ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini. (This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”)

5. ‘George’ by Alex Gino. (Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.)

6. ‘Sex is a Funny Word’ written by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth. (This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”)

7. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. (This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.)

8. ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas. (Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curricula because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.)

9. ‘And Tango Makes Three’ by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole. (Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.)

10. ‘I Am Jazz’ by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas. (This autobiographical picture book cowritten by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.)

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