Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us for Banned Books Week 2022

Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us for Banned Books Week 2022

It’s Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read. 

Launched in 1982 to respond to a sudden surge in challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries, Banned Books Week highlights the value of free and open access to information, and unites the entire book community in support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.

This year’s theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly banned books in the United States in recent years, and find out where you can check them out with your MCPL card. Below each book, we have availability in each format at our branches, and with your Libby and Hoopla apps.

The Most Commonly Banned Books in the US in 2021

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
    Available for immediate checkout on Hoopla, in print or e-book.
  2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
    Available in print, e-book, and for immediate checkout as an audiobook on Hoopla.
  3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
    Available in print, e-book, and for immediate checkout as an audiobook on Hoopla.
  4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
    Available in print, e- and audiobook, and for immediate e-book download on Hoopla.
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
    Available in print, e- and audiobook, Playaway, and for immediate e-book download on Hoopla.
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
    Available in print, cd, audiobook and e-book.
  7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
    Available in print, audiobook and e-book on Libby, and immediate e-book download on Hoopla.
  8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
    Available in print, cd, and e-book and audiobook on Libby.
  9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
    Available in print.
  10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
    Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 
    Available in print and e-book on Libby.
  11. George (Now Melissa) by Alex Gino
    Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
    Available in print, as audiobook and e-book on Libby, and immediate download in audiobook on Hoopla.
  12. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
    Available in print, e-book and Playaway on Libby, and audiobook on Libby.
  13. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
    Available in print, cd, and e-book and audiobook on Libby.
  14. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
    Available in print, and in e-book on Libby.
  15. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
    Available in print and an immediate audiobook download on Hoopla.
  16. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
    Available in print, cd, e-book on Libby and immediate download in audiobook and e-book on Hoopla.
  17. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students|
    Available in print, cd, and audiobook and ebook on Libby.
  18. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
    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
    Available in print and in e-book on Libby.
  19. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg
    Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate” 
    Available in print.
  20. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel
    Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
    Available in print and e-book on Libby.

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