Responses from Authors of the Top 11 Most Challenged Books

ALA Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books, Authors, Banned and Challenged Books

By: Ellie Diaz, Office for Intellectual Freedom Program Officer

On Monday, the American Library Association released the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018 in the State of America’s Libraries Report. The reasons for challenging the titles ranged from LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, to “anti-cop” and profanity.

The list gained media attention and sparked discussions online. What’s most powerful is the responses from the readers, who will fiercely defend these books from censorship, and from authors, who bravely told stories that entertain, reflect, and inspire.

Here are some responses from authors on their books being the most challenged titles in the U.S.

 

Alex Gino, author of the #1 Most Challenged Book George

 

Judy Schachner, author of the #8 Most Challenged Book Skippyjon Jones series

A few years back I received a letter from a fan. She wrote –

Dear Mrs. Schachner,

“I love your books! I’ve almost read all of them. I’m in third grade. I am 8 years old. I’m really flexible. I have lots of friends and I talk Spanish. My favorite book is SKIPPYJON JONES AND THE BIG BONES. I go to dance class. My teacher reads your books sometimes. I have a big family. My Grandpa talks in Chinese, Spanish, and English. I really love your books.”

Notorious SJJ, with Skippyjon Jones

This is us America.

We live together, love together, laugh together, and read together.

No one should tell this child or any child that they can’t read the books they love.

Sincerely,

Judy Schachner

 

Angie Thomas, author of the #4 Most Challenged Book The Hate U Give

Thomas’ Twitter thread is in response to a tweet about a teacher instructed not to teach The Hate U Give in the classroom.

 

Gayle Pitman, author of the #10 Most Challenged Book This Day in June

Almost half of the books on the Top 11 this year (including THIS DAY IN JUNE) were banned or challenged because they contained LGBTQ+ content. That is incredibly disturbing to me. Whether it involves removing a book from a shelf or burning a book in a trash can, all of these are attempts to erase, silence, and destroy our communities. This is an opportunity for all of us to stand up for the freedom to read, as well as for the right to see ourselves reflected in books and for our communities to exist without oppression.

 

 

Mariko Tamaki, author of the #7 Most Challenged Book This One Summer

 

Jillian Tamaki, illustrator of the #7 Most Challenged Book This One Summer

 

Jill Twiss, author of the #2 Most Challenged Book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

 

Raina Telgemeier, author of the #5 Most Challenged Book Drama

 


Ellie Diaz, Banned Books Week Program OfficerEllie Diaz is the Program Officer at the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. With her journalism background and fierce devotion to the freedom to read, Ellie collaborates with experts on organizing ALA’s Banned Books Week and several other projects within OIF. As a biblio-writer, she enjoys exploring the intersection of advocacy and literature.

One thought on “Responses from Authors of the Top 11 Most Challenged Books

  • As a queer person, it terrifies me how many LGBTQ* books are on this list. And it’s still haunting that Thomas and Alexie and Asher remain on the list. And that Judy Schachner appears out of nowhere on the list.

    “Here’s something I don’t think adults understand – when you tell teens or kids that they can’t read a book, it makes them want to read it even more.” – Angie Thomas’ tweet

    I wholeheartedly agree. Tell this, though, to authors like Kosoko Jackson and Amélie Wen Zhao, whose books won’t even see the light of day because of Twitter “outrage” regarding their books. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too. There’s no such thing as a book that’s going to please or delight all readers and that won’t be offensive to some or many, and we adults need to step up and model productive discourse: just because a book rattles one (or hundreds or thousands) of us, doesn’t mean teens and kids can’t decide or think for themselves (to say nothing of fellow adult readers of teen books). And if a book rattles one (or hundreds or thousands) of them, it doesn’t mean they get to decide for other people if the book is “problematic” or not.

    Let’s get off our high horses and let artists and authors do their thing. Opinions will *always* be divided. A person can *always* find something disturbing or upsetting or unpatriotic or too liberal or culturally insensitive or tone deaf or triggering or anti-Christian or misrepresented or sexually abhorrent or immoral (shall I continue? I got hundreds more) in art – it’s how art works. And if it moves us to anger, great. Art can do that. If it moves you to a place of sadness, great. Art can also do that. If it moves us to euphoria, great. Art can also do that.

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