Surge in Efforts to Ban Books

Efforts to ban books have risen substantially over the past year. There were 729 challenges to library, school and university materials in 2021, targeting 1,597 individual books.  This has been the most since such records started being collected in 2000, according to a recent report from the American Library Association (ALA).

Despite the efforts by some groups and individuals to ban books, the ALA remains committed to the idea that the books that make it through their system should be available for the public. According to the ALA president, “Despite this organized effort to ban books, libraries remain ready to do what we always have: make knowledge and ideas available so people are free to choose what to read”.

Below are the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021:

  1. “Gender Queer,” by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images.
  1. “Lawn Boy,” by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
  1. “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
  1. “Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
  1. “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.
  1. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term.
  1. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.
  1. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit.
  1. “This Book is Gay,” by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  1. “Beyond Magenta,” by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

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