ALA Announces Top Ten Challenged Books in 2016

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Books featuring LGBT characters occupied the first five positions on the American Library Association’s 2016 list of the books that were most frequently banned or challenged in schools or libraries. The list was released on Tuesday as part of the State of the America’s Libraries Report 2016.

The ALA also released a video report on the 2016 challenges. It counted 323, a 17 percent increase over 2015.

The top five challenged books of 2016 were:

  1. This One Summer, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (First Second Books)
    Challenged for LGBT characters, drug use, profanity, and sexual explicitness
  2. Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier (GRAPHIX)
    Challenged for LGBT characters, sexual explicitness, and an “offensive” political point of view
  3. George, written by Alex Gino (Scholastic)
    Challenged because it includes a transgender child and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
  4. I Am Jazz, written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas (Dial Books)
    Challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, “sex education,” and “offensive” viewpoints
  5. Two Boys Kissing, written by David Levithan (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
    Challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

The next three books on the list were challenged for sexual explicitness: Looking for Alaska (written by John Green, Dutton Books), which someone thought would encourage “sexual experimentation”; Big Hard Sex Criminals (written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, Image Comics); and Making Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread (written by Chuck Palahniuk, Doubleday), which was also challenged for profanity and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”

Ninth on the list is The Little Bill series (Scholastic), which was challenged because its author is Bill Cosby. It was considered objectionable because of the criminal sexual allegations against Cosby. Varnette P. Honeywood is the illustrator.

The last book on the list was Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Griffin), which was challenged for offensive language.

This year’s Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the freedom to read, will be held September 24–30.