Why are there 11 most challenged books this year?

ALA Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books, Authors, Banned and Challenged Books, Censorship, National Library Week

By: Kristin Pekoll, OIF Assistant Director

On April 8, the American Library Association (ALA) released The State of America’s Libraries Report 2019, an annual summary of library trends released during National Library Week, April 7–13, that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries. This report includes a snapshot of censorship in libraries, schools and universities: who initiates challenges, where are they taking place, and what are the reasons?

Lights, Camera, Action – Top 11 Video

Top 11 Most Challenged Books

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 347 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2018. View the full list of reasons at ala.org/bbooks/top.

Of the 483 books challenged or banned in 2018, below are the Top 11 Most Challenged Books:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: for including a transgender character
  2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints
  3. Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: for including a same-sex couple, and it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: for profanity, drug use, and sexual references, and it was deemed “anti-cop”
  5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    Reasons: for addressing teen suicide
  7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations
  8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
    Reason: for depicting cultural stereotypes
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: for profanity, sexual references, and its religious viewpoint
  10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
    Reason: for including LGBTQIA+ content
  11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
    Reason: for including LGBTQIA+ content

Tweets from Top 11 Authors

#8 Most Challenged Book Skippyjon Jones

Free Downloads & Other Resources

Extra! Extra! – Top 11 Makes the News

AASL School Library Month FREE Webinar

AASL School Library Month FREE Webinar graphic novelsTo celebrate School Library Month, AASL has gathered banned author Nick Bruel and school librarians to tell their stories of challenges to graphic novels and comics.

Don’t #%?$ My Graphic Novels: Conquering Challenges and Protecting the Right to Read
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. Central

We strive to create inclusive library collections that reflect a diverse global community. But what happens when members of the school community challenge or attempt to ban such inclusive materials?

In 2018, 38% of reported book challenges took place in schools. Among the challenged works were those in illustrated format, including Persepolis, Drama, This One Summer, Captain Underpants, Bad Kitty, and Bone. As we celebrate School Library Month, join us in advocating for and defending books that incorporate art with Bad Kitty author and illustrator Nick Bruel and librarians Mariela Siegert, Martha Hickson, and Suzanna Panter. They will share their experiences with censorship and navigating a graphic novel challenge. Moderated by Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, with resources and tools to support inclusion of all types of learning resources.

Why are There 11 Most Challenged Books This Year?

Traditionally ALA releases a top 10 list of banned and challenged books within The State of America’s Libraries report. This year 11 books were selected, since two titles were tied for the final position on the list, and both books were burned by a religious activist to protest a Pride event.

Shining a light on censorship in America’s libraries makes our communities strong and ultimately makes our country stronger. Help us defend the right to read these stories and so many others.


Kristin PekollKristin Pekoll is the Assistant Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and is the first contact for support to librarians and educators who are experience censorship. Kristin communicates with state library associations on current book challenges and publications that deal with censorship, privacy, ethics, and internet filtering. She organizes online education and training on the freedom to read and how to navigate reconsideration requests and media relations. Kristin started her career as a youth librarian in West Bend, Wisconsin where she experienced a book challenge to over eighty YA LGBTQ books. This summer she will be publishing her first book with ALA Editions titled Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library. In her free time she enjoys watching the Green Bay Packers and working on jigsaw puzzles. Find her on Twitter @kpekoll.


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