Most-Challenged Books of 2020

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school and university materials and services during 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring them.

George by Alex Gino
Challenged, banned and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint and not reflecting “the values of our community.”

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.

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, discuss divisive topics and contain “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Banned, challenged and restricted because the novel was thought to contain a political viewpoint; it was claimed to be biased against male students; and it includes profanity and discussion of rape.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author.

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.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, for featuring a “white savior” character and for its perception of the Black experience.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message.

Data and infographic from the website of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.