Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019

As part of National Library Week, the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom compiles the list of the most challenged books in libraries and schools for the previous year. I have included ALA’s notes about the reasons the books were challenged. I hope you find them as infuriating as I do!

Here are the top books for 2019, many of which will be familiar and likely beloved titles:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”
  2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
  3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning
  4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”
  5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
    Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
  6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
  8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
  9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
    Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals
  10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
    Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content


News to Wake Your Brain Cells April 24


10 soothing children’s books that adults should read too – Romper

Jean Little was her family’s poet and a pioneer in the Canadian kidlit community – Quill & Quire

The MIT Press and Candlewick Press to collaborate on new imprints for children, teens – MIT News

“The Willoughbys” director on casting Will Forte and adapting Lois Lowry’s book for screen – Variety


7 digital libraries you can visit from your couch – CNN

Libraries brace for budget cuts – Inside Higher Ed

Reopening: Not “When?” But “How?” – American Libraries

San Diego libraries face budget cuts, long-term challenges of social distancing – San Diego Tribune

Suburban libraries are preparing major changes before they eventually reopen: ‘It may not be the same way that it was’ – Chicago Tribune

When ‘non-essential’ is anything but – The Hill


8 cute YA contemporaries you should read – The Nerd Daily

Queer witches and doomed princesses: new young adult SFF for April & May 2020 – Tor