The Most Frequently Banned Books of 2019

Raina Telgemeier CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook 2015 poster, featuring Callie from Drama (8.5″ by 11″) . Courtesy of the American Library Association. Click “Resources” link below.

Raina Telgemeier CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook 2015 poster, featuring Callie from Drama (8.5″ by 11″). Courtesy of the American Library Association. Click “Resources” link below.

Every year, the American Library Association Publishes a list of the most frequently banned books, according to their member’s records. These are books that are challenged by library patrons or self censored by removing them from the shelves, which some libraries do as a stopgap measure: they keep them off the shelves so that the books only circulate if someone asks for them.

This list is NOT a list of children’s books; it includes all books that have been banned…yet 9 out of 10 are intended for children or teenagers. Note that 8 out of 10 were censored for addressing LGBTQIA+ topics.

This is the list for 2019. The 2020 list isn’t out yet as it takes a while to compile the statistics.

Check your local library, and see what they have…keeping in mind that no library can order everything.

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Italicized information is compiled by and courtesy of the American Library Association (ALA). You can find more information on their Resources page here. Find the list of the top 100 most banned books for 2010-2019 here.

  1. George by Alex Gino

    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

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

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

Here’s the audio version, which I included because of the amazing list of readers:

4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth

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

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

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

Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals

9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

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

Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content