April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

“Thirteen Reasons Why” Tops Most Challenged List

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why tops the 2017 list of most challenged books. The majority of the titles in the Top 10 released today by the American Library Association (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) have been here before—The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianDramaAnd Tango Makes Three, I Am Jazz. 

The Hate U Give has made plenty of news since being published in February 2017, as parents in communities across the country wanted it pulled from school libraries. It also has spent months atop the Amazon teen and New York Times YA bestseller lists and was critically acclaimed—winning the ALA’s William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens, being named an honor title for the Printz and Coretta Scott King awards, and making the longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Still, it wasn’t challenged as much as Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, which continues to ruffle feathers nearly 60 years after publication.

The official list from the ALA OIF press release:

The American Library Association (ALA) released its 2018 State of America’s Libraries report.

The report found that libraries continue to face challenges that carry with them the potential for censorship, to a variety of books, programs and materials. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2017. Some individual challenges resulted in requests to restrict or remove multiple titles or collections. Overall in 2017, 416 books were targeted – direct attacks on the freedom to read.

Through an analysis of overall books challenged (416) the OIF produced the “Top Ten Most Challenged Books” of 2017, which includes:

1.Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Reason: Suicide

2.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Profanity, Sexually Explicit

3.  Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reason: LGBT Content

4.  The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Sexual Violence, Religious Themes, “May Lead to Terrorism”

5.  George, by Alex Gino
Reason: LGBT Content

6.  Sex is a Funny Word, written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Reason: Sex Education

7.  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: Violence, Racial Slurs.

8.  The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Drug Use, Profanity, “Pervasively Vulgar”

9.  And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by
Henry Cole

Reason: LGBT Content

10.  I Am Jazz, written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh

Reason: Gender Identity


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