ALA Releases the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2016

Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) releases their The State of America's Libraries magazine - a magazine catered towards academic, school, and public libraries providing expertise, dynamic collections, digital resources, and many other tools to empower librarians to help make their communities better places to live. Among the resources provided in the magazine is the annual "Most Challenged Books" list.

This list explores a range of genres and formats that have been threatened with removal from schools and libraries within communities. The annual list is put together by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). OIF calculates the Top Ten books by documenting public media articles of challenges and censorship records submitted through the office's reporting form. 

This year, the OIF collected 323 challenged reports to calculate the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016. For the full list, see below:

  • This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki | This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned 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 | Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.
  • George written by Alex Gino | Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel 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 | This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.
  • Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan | Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was 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 | This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted 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 | Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.
  • Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk | This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”
  • Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood | This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  • Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell | One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.
     

Along with the list, OIF provides a detailed video along with infographics on how to use the information. For the video, see below. For infographics and other resources, click here.

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