Map of Forbidden Books 2019

A Map of Forbidden Books in 2019 by Brendan Brown

For almost as long we’ve been writing, governments and religious groups have attempted to censor what we read.

In 35 AD, Homer’s The Odyssey was banned by the Roman emperor Caligula because it contained dangerous ideas about freedom. The contents of the famed library in Alexandria were used as fuel for the public baths in 640 AD. And Pope Paul IV published one of the first book ban lists with his Index of Prohibited Books in 1559, a list that was updated until 1948.

Think that book banning has been consigned to history? Sigh. Books are still being censored today. Keep reading ….

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 (http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/NLW-Top10)