Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016


Words have power. Books were once burned to keep them out of
the hands of the masses. But burning pages doesn’t destroy ideas. Ideas and words live on today in libraries,
as readers discover themselves and their place in the community. Every year, the American Library Association
records hundreds of book censorship incidences in libraries across the U.S. Each individual who demands censorship infringes
on the First Amendment rights of readers. Each request to remove a book eliminates the
voices of storytellers and dismisses the needs of readers who find themselves in those pages. Most threats are unsuccessful thanks to the
teachers, librarians, authors and even kids who rise up against censorship in libraries. And their words have power. These resilient readers know that banned books
benefit our worldview, our empathy and our democracy. Of the 323 challenges recorded by the American
Library Association in 2016, the Top Ten challenged books are Number 10: Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow
Rowell; challenged for offensive language. Number 9: Little Bill, written
by Bill Cosby, illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood; challenged because of criminal
sexual allegations against the author. Number 8: Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t
Unread by Chuck Palahniuk; challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being
“disgusting and all around offensive.” Number 7: Big Hard Sex Criminals written by
Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky; challenged because it was considered sexually
explicit. Number 6: Looking for Alaska written by John
Green; challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual
experimentation.” Number 5: Two Boys Kissing written by David
Levithan; challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered
to include sexually explicit LGBT content. Number 4: I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel
and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas; challenged because it portrays
a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints. Number 3: George written by Alex Gino; challenged
because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary
levels.” Number 2: Drama written and illustrated by
Raina Telgemeier; challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually
explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint. And the number 1 challenged book of 2016 – This One Summer, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki; challenged
because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually
explicit with mature themes. We bring to light these ten books to shout
out against the infringement of our freedom to read and learn. Your words have the power to challenge censorship. Join the American Library Association in celebrating
Banned Books Week in September, and continue to stand up for your freedom to read every
day of the year.

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