The list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 is here. This year’s list explores a range of genres (young adult, fiction, memoir) and formats (novels, graphic novels, picture books), but they have one thing in common: each book was threatened with removal from spaces where diverse ideas and perspectives should be welcomed.
The annual list is compiled by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF); OIF calculates the Top Ten by documenting public media articles of challenges, and censorship reports submitted.
Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016
Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 are
1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.
2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.
3. George written by Alex Gino
Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”
4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.
5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.
6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”
7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.
8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”
9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.
10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.