ALA Announces Top 11 Challenged Books in 2018

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The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom has announced its 2018 list of the books that were most frequently banned or challenged in schools or libraries in the past year. The 2018 list was released on Monday as part of the State of the America’s Libraries Report 2019, which summarizes library trends and is released annually during National Library Week, April 7–13.

Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018ALA tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2018; some of these challenges resulted in requests to restrict or remove multiple titles or collections. Overall in 2018, 483 books were targeted, according to ALA.

Eleven books were chosen this year instead of the usual 10, because numbers 10 and 11 in the list were tied for the final position. In addition, both books were burned by a religious activist in Orange City, Iowa, in October to protest the city’s OC Pride event. The top 11 challenged books of the year were:

  1. George by Alex Gino (Scholastic)
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character
  2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller (Chronicle Books)
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints
  3. Captain Underpants series, written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic)
    Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray)
    Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references
  5. Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier (GRAPHIX)
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Razorbill)
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide
  7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
    Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations
  8. Skippyjon Jones series, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
    Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
    Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint
  10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten (Magination Press)
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content
  11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

Booksellers can find additional reasons as to why these books were challenged, a video announcement of the list, and infographics to publicize this year’s list on the ALA website. This year’s Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the freedom to read, will be held September 22–28, 2019.