Would you believe that according to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, there were 323 challenges to books in 2016? These are books found in school and public libraries and the majority of them are award winners and nominees. Here are the the books which received the most challenges.


1. This One Summer, written by Marino Tamiki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki – Challenged 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 – Challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.


3. George, written by Alex Gino – Challenged 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 – Challenged for portraying a transgender child and because of language, sex education and offensive viewpoints.


5. Two Boys Kissing, written by David Levithan – Challenged because its cover has the image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to have sexually explicit LGBT content.


6. Looking For Alaska, written by John Green – Challenged because of a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”.


7. Big Hard Sex Criminals: Volume 1, written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky – Challenged because it was considered sexually explicit.


8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, written by Chuck Palahniuk – 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 – Challenged because of the criminal allegations against the author.


10. Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell – Challenged because of offensive language.


Other recently banned or challenged books include: The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon; The Doll’s House, by Neil Gaiman; Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safron Foer; Just One Day, by Gayle Forman; This Book Is Gay, by Juno Dawson; The Kite Runner, by Matthew Spangler; Dead Poets Society, by N. H. Kleinbaum; The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri, Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier; Beloved, by Toni Morrison; Persopolis, by Marjane Satrapi; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skyloot; Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain Fifty Shades of Grey series, by EL James; Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling; The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeanette Walls; the Bible; the Koran; The Librarian of Basra, by Jeanette Winter. 


Sadly, these are just a few of the books targeted this past year by misguided and ignorant people. I know all of us lead such busy lives, but during this coming week, I encourage everyone, if you can, to visit your local library and check out a banned book. They won’t be difficult to find because most libraries will have displays. And remember:

Banning books is just another form of bullying. It’s all about fear and an assumption of power. The key is to address the fear and deny the power.

James Howe

Author of the Bunnicula series & The Misfits

giphy (1)