Artwork above courtesy of the American Library Association

We show our support for our right to read and for books that have been banned or challenged in some way by shining the spotlight on them this Banned Books Week.

To challenge books and other media sources is to attempt to remove or restrict these materials based on objections from a person or group. To ban is to remove them altogether based on content. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view, rather, they are an attempt to remove material from a public space, like a library, restricting the access of others.

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom records attempts of censoring books and other materials like DVDs, databases, displays, and art exhibit, whether they were made publicly or reported confidentially. At the end of the year, they compile the data and publish statistics so that readers are aware of these censorship attempts. The previous year saw a rise in censorship attempts to avoid controversy — here are the books that were challenged the most.

1 Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why 

By Jay Asher

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

Get this at Fully Booked Online.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 

By Sherman Alexie

Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

Get this at Fully Booked Online.

3 Drama


Written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”

Request for this title.

The Kite Runner 

By Khaled Hosseini

This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”

Get this at Fully Booked Online.

5 George


By Alex Gino

Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

Request for this title.

8 Sex Is a Funny Word

Sex is a Funny Word

Written by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth

This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

Request for this at via special order at Limited copies available.

To Kill a Mockingbird 

By Harper Lee

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

Get this at Fully Booked Online.

The Hate U Give 

By Angie Thomas

Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug useprofanity, and offensive language.

Get this at Fully Booked Online.

And Tango Makes Three 

Written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole

Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.

Request for this at via special order at Limited copies available.

10 I Am Jazz

I Am Jazz 

Written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

Request for this at via special order at Limited copies available.

Find these and more Banned and Challenged Books at Fully Booked Online.

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