Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2020

ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2020

In 2020, more than 273 books were challenged or banned. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the list.

This post includes the top 10 most challenged books of 2020, and a description of challenges that were reported in the news in 2020, available in the compiled booklet Field Report 2020: Banned & Challenged Books on the ALA Store.

Vail School District Slaughterhouse-five

History Repeated: the Trials of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five has been subject to banning, challenges and even burning for decades. The American Library Association lists the title in it’s Banned and Challenged Classics page, citing a book burning in North Dakota in 1973 and a variety of bans and challenges due to language, sexual references and even because it “contains and makes references to religious matters.” ALA notes only two instances of retention after the book was challenged.

call out

You need to calm down: you’re getting called out, not canceled

“Cancel culture” is becoming synonymous with fragility. Pundits increasingly resent when racial, cultural and sexual norms are enforced in public. They bemoan cancel culture as a form of censorship, despite the fact that no one has actually been “cancelled.” They grieve the loss of free speech when they’re merely being taught a lesson: there is currency in our words and the price paid is accountability.

Covid-19

Intellectual Freedom and Harmful Conspiracy Theories: Where do we draw the line?

The problem is not corporate censorship, it’s the idea that we can find all the reliable information we need on the internet with no guidelines or knowledge how to vet information or discriminate fact from fraud. Censorship becomes an issue when government entities start to take part – and this is why eliminating censorship within the construct of libraries is so important.

The Summer of Owen Todd by Tony Abbot

Requests for Reconsideration at the Public Library Part Four: Sensitive Topics and Abuse

Child sex abuse is a serious problem but how do we talk to kids about it? How do we give children the tools and language to understand how to reach out if they are victims or if they know someone who is? There is no easy answer. One way that author Tony Abbot chose was the route of storytelling. Sharing stories can provide both a mirror and a window.