Here are the 100 most banned and challenged books of the decade

What books have caused the most hand-wringing over the past decade? As part of Banned Book Week, the American Library Association (ALA) combed through censorship reports from the past ten years to determine the top 100 books requested to be banished from shelves in the United States.

At the top of the pile is Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” with titles by John Green, Toni Morrison, Harper Lee and Jeannette Walls ranking in the top 20.

 

Toni Morrison

Compiled from both public and confidential data gathered by the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the list provides but a glimpse into the stacks of complaints against the written word, with a whopping 82-97% of challenges (as defined by the ALA as “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group”) going unreported.

Most of the books challenged do not get stripped from circulation, the nonprofit notes on its website, pointing to the “commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens” as a protective barrier.

Harper Lee

Harper Lee

“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,” the ALA explained. “Although the reasons differ, the censorship of literature in libraries share a common result: the violation of our First Amendment rights.”

The ALA will also present a series of virtual events through Oct. 3 as part of Banned Book Week with the aim of rallying “readers to the cause of First Amendment protections and remind them to remain vigilant about continual threats to our freedom to read.” This year’s theme is “Censorship is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read.”

Here are the titles included in the American Library Association’s “Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books: 2010-2019”:

  1. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
  2. “Captain Underpants” (series) by Dav Pilkey
  3. “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher
  4. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
  5. “George” by Alex Gino
  6. “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  7. “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier
  8. “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James
  9. “Internet Girls” (series) by Lauren Myracle
  10. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
  11. “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
  12. “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
  13. “I Am Jazz” by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
  14. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
  15. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  16. “Bone” (series) by Jeff Smith
  17. “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls
  18. “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan
  19. “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” by Jill Twiss
  20. “Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg
  21. “Alice McKinley” (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  22. “It’s Perfectly Normal” by Robie H. Harris
  23. “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult
  24. “Scary Stories” (series) by Alvin Schwartz
  25. “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
  26. “A Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
  27. “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” by Susan Kuklin
  28. “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
  29. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
  30. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
  31. “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel
  32. “It’s a Book” by Lane Smith
  33. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
  34. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
  35. “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones
  36. “A Child Called ‘It’” by Dave Pelzer
  37. “Bad Kitty” (series) by Nick Bruel
  38. “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins
  39. “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich
  40. “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi
  41. “The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby” by Dav Pilkey
  42. “This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman
  43. “This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki
  44. “A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl” by Tanya Lee Stone
  45. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
  46. “Goosebumps” (series) by R.L. Stine
  47. “In Our Mothers’ House” by Patricia Polacco
  48. “Lush” by Natasha Friend
  49. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger
  50. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
  51. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon
  52. “The Holy Bible”
  53. “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson
  54. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell
  55. “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer
  56. “Gossip Girl” (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
  57. “House of Night” (series) by P.C. Cast
  58. “My Mom’s Having A Baby” by Dori Hillestad Butler
  59. “Neonomicon” by Alan Moore
  60. “The Dirty Cowboy” by Amy Timberlake
  61. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
  62. “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
  63. “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya
  64. “Draw Me a Star” by Eric Carle
  65. “Dreaming In Cuban” by Cristina Garcia
  66. “Fade” by Lisa McMann
  67. “The Family Book” by Todd Parr
  68. “Feed” by M.T. Anderson
  69. “Go the Fuck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach
  70. “Habibi” by Craig Thompson
  71. “House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende
  72. “Jacob’s New Dress” by Sarah Hoffman
  73. “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
  74. “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers
  75. “Nasreen’s Secret School” by Jeanette Winter
  76. “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan
  77. “Stuck in the Middle” by Ariel Schrag
  78. “The Kingdom of Little Wounds” by Susann Cokal
  79. “1984” by George Orwell
  80. “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess
  81. “Almost Perfect” by Brian Katcher
  82. “Awakening” by Kate Chopin
  83. “Burned” by Ellen Hopkins
  84. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
  85. “Fallen Angels” by Walter Dean Myers
  86. “Glass” by Ellen Hopkins
  87. “Heather Has Two Mommies” by Lesle´a Newman
  88. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
  89. “Madeline and the Gypsies” by Ludwig Bemelmans
  90. “My Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis
  91. “Prince and Knight” by Daniel Haack
  92. “Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology” by Amy Sonnie
  93. “Skippyjon Jones” (series) by Judith Schachner
  94. “So Far from the Bamboo Grove” by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
  95. “The Color of Earth” (series) by Tong-hwa Kim
  96. “The Librarian of Basra” by Jeanette Winter
  97. “The Walking Dead” (series) by Robert Kirkman
  98. “Tricks” by Ellen Hopkins
  99. “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” by Sarah S Brannen
  100. “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks

By Britt Stigler in partnership with ALL ARTS. Stigler is the senior digital content editor at ALL ARTS. She can be reached at StiglerB@thirteen.org.