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Alison Gowans
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April 9, 2024 – Each year, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from reports filed by library professionals and community members, as well as news stories published throughout the United States.

ALA documented 4,240 unique book titles targeted for censorship in 2023 — a 65% surge over 2022 numbers — as well as 1,247 demands to censor library books, materials, and resources. 

Four key trends emerged from the data gathered from 2023 censorship reports

  • Pressure groups in 2023 focused on public libraries in addition to targeting school libraries. The number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92% over the previous year; school libraries saw an 11% increase.
  • Groups and individuals demanding the censorship of multiple titles, often dozens or hundreds at a time, drove this surge.  
  • Titles representing the voices and lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC individuals made up 47 percent of those targeted in censorship attempts. 
  • There were attempts to censor more than 100 titles in each of these 17 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The top 10 most challenged books and the most common reasons cited for censoring them are listed below.

These books are all are featured in Unite Against Book Bans’ Book Résumé resource. Created in collaboration with the publishing industry and library workers, each book résumé summarizes the book’s significance and educational value, including a synopsis, reviews from professional journals, awards, accolades and more. The book résumés for each title are linked below. You can also reserve and borrow these books from the Metro Library Network by clicking on their covers below.

1. "Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.

2. "All Boys Aren't Blue" by George M. Johnson

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.

3. "This Book is Gay" by Juno Dawson

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sex education, claimed to be sexually explicit.

4. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content, rape, drugs, profanity.

5. "Flamer" by Mike Curato

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.

6. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Rape, incest, claimed to be sexually explicit, EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) content.

7/8 (tied). "Me and Early and the Dying Girl" by Jesse Andrews

Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity.

7/8 (tied). "Tricks" by Ellen Hopkins

Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, drugs, rape, LGBTQIA+ content.

9. "Let's Talk About It" by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan

Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, sex education, LGBTQIA+ content.

10. "Sold" by Patricia McCormick

Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, rape.