Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2017

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2017

The ALA (American Library Association) Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school, and university materials in 2017. Of the 416 books challenged or banned in 2017, the Top 10 Most Challenged Books are:

  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.

  1. 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 curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit. [Note: This book was the 2008 BSC Campus Read selection.]

  1. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

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.”

  1. 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.”

  1. George by Alex Gino

Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

  1. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and 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.”

  1. 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.

  1. 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 curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.

9.  And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and 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.

  1. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

Source: American Library Association (


And the Winners Are …

Andrew Carnegie Medals

Donna Tartt and Doris Kearns Goodwin are the 2014 winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Donna Tartt won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for her novel The Goldfinch, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Doris Kearns Goodwin won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction for her book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, published by Simon & Schuster.

Both books are available at the BSC Library.

About the Awards

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) are announced at an event at the ALA Annual Conference; winning authors receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalists in each category receive $1,500.

Source: American Library Association

Children’s Literature – Newbery & Caldecott Books

2014 Caldecott Medal Winner and Honor Books

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of 19th century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

  • Locomotive / illustrated by Brian Floca – Medal Winner
  • Journey / written and illustrated by Aaron Becker – Honor Book
  • Flora and the Flamingo written and illustrated by Molly Idle – Honor Book
  • Mr. Wuffles! / written and illustrated by David Wiesner – Honor Book


2014 Newbery Medal Winner and Honor Books

The Newbery Medal was named for 18th century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

  • Flora & Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures / written by Kate DiCamillo – Medal Winner
  • Doll Bones / written by Holly Black – Honor Book
  • The Year of Billy Miller / written by Kevin Henkes – Honor Book
  • One Came Home / written by Amy Timberlake – Honor Book
  • Paperboy / written by Vince Vawter – Honor Book


These books are on order for the Children’s Collection at the BSC Library.

Lifelong Literacy is a Basic Right

Hear! Hear! This is what we believe.

ALA Reconfirms Committment to Basic LiteracyNational Library Symbol

“The American Library Association (ALA) Council has passed a resolution reaffirming and supporting the principle that lifelong literacy is a basic right for all individuals in our society and is essential to the welfare of the nation.

The resolution, which was passed at the ALA Annual Conference, held June 27 – July 2 in Chicago, also reaffirms the core value of basic literacy for people of all ages and the building block for the development of all types of literacy. In addition, it encourages appropriate ALA units and divisions to actively participate in the Association’s Literacy Assembly.

Basic literacy is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”  Read rest of article …



Why Won’t They Sell to Us? An Open Letter to Publishers

CHICAGO (September 28, 2012) — American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan released this open letter to publishers regarding the refusal of Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin to provide access to their e-books in U.S. libraries.

The letter begins:

“It’s a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability to buy a company’s product and is told its money is “no good here.” Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishers’ products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing e-books from three of the largest publishers in the world. Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin have been denying access to their e-books for our nation’s 112,000 libraries and roughly 169 million public library users.” Read the rest of the letter….


Publishers and Libraries and eBooks

We’ve been blogging about this for a while now …

ebooks from some publishers are not available to libraries at any price (e.g., Penguin Group).  Other publishers have placed caps on the number of times an ebook can be checked out (e.g., HarperCollins).  Once the cap is reached, access is lost and the library has to purchase the ebook again.  Still others, (e.g., Random) have raised the price of ebooks to libraries by as much as 300%.

The good news is that efforts continue to enable library access to ebooks to everyone in America’s communities.  ALA (American Library Association) met with e-book distributors during the Public Library Association (PLA) Conference, March 13-17.  Here’s the report on those meetings.

Has this had an affect on you?  Definitely.  The BSC Library can no longer purchase ebooks from Penguin for our Beyond Library Walls Digital Collection (powered by OverDrive). Our purchasing of HarperCollins titles has been dramatically reduced (in fact, we no longer purchase HarperCollins ebooks at all) and we’ve already cancelled ebook purchases from Random. For example, it’s hard to justify spending $88 for an ebook version of a title that we can get for $12.95 in a paperback format.