Banned Books Week runs September 26-October 2.
“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
The 10 Most Challenged Books of last year are listed below. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1,597 books that were targeted, these were the most challenged.
TOP 10 MOST CHALLENGED BOOKS OF 2021
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
- This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.
The Banned Books Week Coalition Events will feature authors and artists. First up is comics creator Gene Yuen Lang.
- A Conversation With Gene Luen Yang: Censorship in Leander, Texas
Thursday, September 23, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CDT / 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. CDT
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek
Bestselling comics creator and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Dragon Hoops, Shang-Chi) is joined by educator Alexis Huddleston and parent Stephani Bercu for a conversation about the censorship of young people’s literature in Leander, Texas, and beyond! Early this year, the school district in Leander undertook a review of its book club reading lists after a parent complained about one of the titles during a school board meeting. The review led to the removal of more than a dozen acclaimed and award-winning novels and graphic novels, most of them by people of color or featuring diverse characters. Huddleston and Bercu will speak about their experience defending the reading lists, while Yang — who has two titles, Dragon Hoops and American Born Chinese, on the list — will offer a creator’s perspective on censorship. Moderated by Nora Pelizzari (National Coalition Against Censorship) and Betsy Gomez (Banned Books Week Coalition).
Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocates for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award Finalist. His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man and Superman from DC Comics (with various artists), Superman Smashes the Klan from DC Comics (with Gurihiru), the Avatar: The Last Airbender series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru), and Dragon Hoops. He is currently writing Shang-Chi for Marvel Comics.
Not hard to see the themes there, alas. Would I be right in assuming “indoctrination of a social agenda” is a dogwhistle for “critical race theory”, which is itself a dogwhistle?
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bill: Your answer is unconvincing seeing as how you provided absolutely no substance or support. and we’ve all seen you twist yourself in knots trying to say a thing isn’t racist which is.
It’s a book about a police shooting of a black person, and it explores that from a set point of view. But you can’t call it indoctrination just for being written from that perspective, unless you argue any and every book with any specific real-world point of view is indoctrination to that perspective. You have to actually dig into where the line is between perspective and propaganda, with citations from the work, to even start saying so.
The book banners have been making it very clear that extirpating what they call “critical race theory,” and what normal people call the facts, good and bad, about US history and society, is their main goal.
Archivist friend points out that of course for right wing Christians the point isn’t so much to control what public libraries stock as to gradually intimidate them out of existence altogether, leaving churches and church organisations as the only available community support
@Sophie Jane–Yup. And they’re getting more open about their anti-public library agenda. There are now campaigns, sometimes successful, to defund public libraries.
Censorship wars: Why have several communities voted to defund their public libraries?
But some communities are also fighting back.
Residents raise almost $100,000 for Michigan library defunded over LGBTQ books
Sophie Jane asked a straightforward question: “Would I be right in assuming “indoctrination of a social agenda” is a dogwhistle for “critical race theory”, ” to which I answered “no” for a couple of reasons.
– The quote “indoctrination of a social agenda” refers to a single book – The Hate U Give. None of the challenges to this book that I can find (ALA is poor at documenting these, and I had to look elsewhere; PEN is a much better resource) mentioned CRT. The reasons for challenging were primarily strong language and criticism of police as an institution.
– If the quote was in fact a “dogwhistle”, then that means that ALA (the ones using the expression) are whistling to — whom? Nah, it doesn’t work.
If you think I’m wrong — if you think the quoted phrase is in fact a dogwhistle — make your case.
I don’t recognize racism? I take exception to that. Where did it happen? Back up the accusation.
A general comment — ALA is being, if not hyperbolic, then certainly exaggerative of events by promoting “Banned” Books Week. These books aren’t banned — they are widely avaiable to anyone who wants them via a few mouse clicks. If one is willing to ignore the niceties of intellectual property, it isn’t even necessary to pay for them.