(27 Sept 2020) The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) released the Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books from the past decade. The list’s release launches Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3, a vibrant week of programming to rally readers to the cause of First Amendment protections and remind them to remain vigilant about continual threats to our freedom to read.
Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” tops the list as the most banned and challenged book from 2010-2019. Alexie joins Toni Morrison, Alex Gino, John Green, and E. L. James as some of the most censored authors. Many of the titles on the list have also been adapted for the screen, including “Captain Underpants,” “The Hunger Games,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Hate U Give,” “The Glass Castle” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”
The list includes books challenged for a variety of reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sexual references, religious viewpoints, content that addresses racism and police brutality, and profanity. Although the reasons differ, the censorship of literature in libraries share a common result: the violation of our First Amendment rights.
OIF has been documenting attempts to ban books in libraries and schools since 1990. OIF compiled this list of the most banned and challenged books from 2010-2019 by reviewing both the public and confidential censorship reports it received.
This list draws attention to literary censorship but only provides a snapshot of book challenges. About 82-97% of challenges remain unreported, estimates OIF, which compared results from several independent studies of third-party FOIA requests documenting school and library book censorship with the information in its database.
The press release in full is here.