(USNewsMag.com) – Thousands of books are published every year around the world. However, due to sensitive topics and outright exploitation of specific issues, many are also challenged and/or banned whether from schools or public libraries. These 10 books have stirred up such controversy that they ended up on the top 10 most challenged list of 2021.
- Gender Queer: A Memoir
- Lawn Boy
- All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto
- Out of Darkness
- The Hate U Give
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: A Novel
- The Bluest Eye
- This Book Is Gay
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Challenge vs. Ban
There are two motions one can file to remove a book from public institutions: a challenge or a ban. A challenge, as defined by the American Library Association (ALA), is merely an attempt to either restrict a person’s access or remove it. A ban is the outright removal of the literature. With a restriction, one who falls into an acceptable category, such as an age group, would be able to check out the book. If it’s banned, it’s not available through the school or library, but those who want to read the literature can certainly buy it either in a local bookstore or online.
Reasons for Challenges
There are a number of reasons why a book may face a challenge. One of the most common is it promotes explicit content deemed too sensitive for most readers, such as sexual assault or indoctrination. For most of the aforementioned literature, that’s the case.
The Hate U Give
This novel by Angie Thomas centers on the controversial topic of police brutality and racism within the police force, and according to critics, it promotes “an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda.” It centers on a black girl who sees her also-black friend shot by a police officer who happens to be white. During a time of much civil unrest, it was challenged and then banned in 2021.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: A Novel
This novel by Jesse Andrews is centered around the main character, Greg, who enters high school and tries to navigate his way through. He becomes friends with his sidekick, Earl, and a girl dying of leukemia. Critics protested this book due to its sexually explicit nature, also calling it “degrading to women.”
Gender Queer: A Memoir
This graphic novel, along with Lawn Boy, was removed from Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools, but later returned. Among the reasons for its ban is its explicitness, and actual depictions of sexual acts parents and educators deemed inappropriate for school children.
Despite these books making the list of the most challenged of 2021, the ALA says it’s a mere fraction of the requests it receives each year. Approximately 82-97% never get any media attention, and the ones that do are typically because they embrace “woke” ideologies and cause outrage.
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