September 25, 2021

ALA Releases “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020” List

NOTE: The Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 is included in the 2021 State of American Libraries report.

From the American Library Association:

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. 

Source: State of American Libraries 2021

Below are the top 10 most challenged books of 2020:

1. “George,” by Alex Gino
Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”

2. “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people

3. “All American Boys,” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”

4. “Speak,” by Laurie Halse Anderson
Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity

5. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author

6. “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice,” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views

7. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience

8. “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck
Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students

9. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse

10. “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas
Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

Source: State of American Libraries 2021

See Also: Previous Lists and Additional Resources

Update: New Video

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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