The Banned-est of the Banned (of 2017)





Banned Books Week is almost here! September 22nd-28th we’ll celebrate the freedom to read and freely access information. In 2017 challenges were on the upswing (416 books were challenged!). Preserving access to books that explore a full range of ideas and perspectives is more important than ever. The 2018 theme for BBW is “Banning Books Silences Stories” and for good reason; 52% of the challenged books of the last decade have been titles that explore diverse perspectives! So… what books are being challenged and why? I present: The Top Ten Most Banned Books of 2017:

  1. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas. Written by Jazz Jennings about her experience with gender identity.This picture book was challenged because of the gender issues it explores.
  1. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole. One of the most frequently banned books, this picture book was challenged due to a same-sex relationship.

   8. The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas. The reasons that landed this award-winning book on banned and      challenged lists were drug use, profanity, and offensive language.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. This classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning book is on the list due to violence and including the N-word.
  1. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth. Written by a certified instructor of sex education, this informational book was challenged due to a belief that it would make children “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
  1. George written by Alex Gino. This award-winning children’s novel features a transgender main character, which led to it being banned and challenged.
  1. The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini. Written for adults, this critically-acclaimed novel was banned and challenged because of sexual violence. Also, some thought the book would “promote Islam” and “lead to terrorism”.
  1. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier. This popular graphic novel was banned and challenged due to LGBT characters and because some thought it was “confusing."
  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie. Frequently challenged for its depiction of poverty, sexuality, and alcoholism.
  1. Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher. Discussion of suicide landed this title on the top of the banned books list for 2017. 

Learn more about all things banned books on the ALA website. Happy reading!