The 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018

Angie Thomas, Amazon
Angie Thomas, Amazon / Angie Thomas, Amazon

Literary censorship may seem like a thing of the past, belonging to a bygone era when “obscene” books like Lady Chatterley’s Lover were confined to restricted libraries or outlawed outright. However, as the American Library Association (ALA) is quick to point out, books are still being banned from libraries, schools, and universities across the U.S.

As part of National Library Week, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom just released its list of the 11 most frequently challenged books of 2018. Topping the list is Alex Gino’s 2015 children’s book, George, which was also among the most banned books of 2016 and 2017. It tells the story of a 10-year-old transgender girl named George who wants to play the role of Charlotte in her school's production of Charlotte’s Web.

According to the ALA, the book was “banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning ‘dirty magazines,’ describing male anatomy, ‘creating confusion,’ and including a transgender character.”

The organization uses information from the media as well as book challenge reports to create its annual list of the most challenged books. Check out the list for 2018 below, with an explanation of some of the reasons why the books were banned.

  1. George by Alex Gino

Reason: Inclusion of a transgender character and sexual content.

  1. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss and EG Keller

Reason: LGBTQIA+ content, as well as political and religious viewpoints.

  1. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

Reason: It was “perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple.”

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reason: “Anti-cop” content, profanity, drug use, and sexual references.

  1. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Reason: LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Reason: Themes of teen suicide.

  1. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Reason: Profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations.

  1. Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner

Reason: Depicts stereotypes of Mexican culture.

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reason: Sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, underage drinking, and religious viewpoints.

  1. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten

Reason: LGBTQIA+ content.

  1. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Reason: LGBTQIA+ content.