Every year, the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom releases a list of the most frequently challenged books of the year—books that people have wanted to remove from school or library shelves because they don’t conform, in one way or another, to the complainant’s worldview.
It’s important to note that this list is based purely on media reports and from voluntarily submitted reports from librarians—according to the OIF, surveys indicate that 85% of book challenges are never reported at all.
Without further ado, here’s the 2016 list!
- This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
- George written by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
- Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
- Looking for Alaska written by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
- Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
- Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
- Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
- Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language
My favorite thing to do with the list? Treat it as a mini reading challenge! Over the course of the next month, I’ll make a point of reading the listed titles that I haven’t already read. You in?