These books are some of the most challenged in the US. Here’s how to buy them

As book banning efforts reach an all-time high in the US, Clémence Michallon rounds up 20 of the country’s most challenged books

Monday 24 April 2023 18:52 BST
(Algonquin/Random House/Farrar Straus and Giroux/Knopf/Oni Press/Little Brown Books For Young Readers)

Book banning efforts are at an all-time high in the US. The American Library Association, which tracks book challenges across the country, recorded 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022 – nearly twice the amount recorded in 2021.

Many of the books targeted by challenges feature LGBT+ characters or address issues such as racism.

This is reflected in the ALA’s list of the 100 most challenged books between 2010 and 2019, as well as its yearly most challenged books lists. The same goes for a list compiled last year by CBS, rounding up the 50 most challenged books in America, based on data supplied by PEN America.

Here are 20 of the most commonly challenged books below, along with links to purchase them from independent bookstores. It is not an exhaustive list, but rather a mere samples of the books whose presence in schools and libraries has been put into question.

Please do feel free to peruse the links above, and – to borrow from what John Green said in an interview on this topic with The Independent — “read broadly, and read boldly.”

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

(Oni Press)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X Kendi and Jason Reynolds

(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking For Alaska
Looking For Alaska (Dutton Books for Young Readers)

Beloved by Toni Morrison


Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

(Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(Balzer + Bray)

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Laura Cornell

(Candlewick Press)

Melissa by Alex Gino

(Scholastic Press)

This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson

(Random House)

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison


Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

(Carolrhoda Lab)

I Am Jazzby Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

(Dial Books)

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

(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley


The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


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