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ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2011 May 15, 2012

Posted by acrews in Committees.
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ALA has recently released its top ten list of most challenged books as a part of their 2012 State of America’s Libraries Report.  A challenge is defined by ALA as a “formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.”  As school librarians, we must constantly be aware of the needs of our community, but not at the expense of offering diverse viewpoints and giving students access to a wide range of materials.  If a book is challenged at your school, make sure that the proper procedure is being followed as the book is being removed.  Is your reconsideration policy up to date?  If not, ALA offers sample policies as well as other information you may need.    It is important to report all challenges to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.   They keep all the information confidential, and use the information to record trends and prepare for future challenges.  Please refer to the AASL Blog post from March, “Defend the Right to Read” for more information about reporting challenges:


Here is the link for more information and sample policies:


Last year, there were 326 reported challenges.  This year’s list includes titles ranging from The Hunger Games, to Brave New World.  Here is the complete list:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle

Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

  1. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa

Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

  1. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

  1. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler

Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

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

Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

  1. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

  1. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

  1. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones

Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

  1. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Reasons: offensive language; racism

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is here to help with challenges.   You can call

Angela  Maycock at  1-800-545-2433, Ext. 4221, or Ext. 4220 to reach the OIF office.
Hours: 8:30-4:30 pm CST, Monday-Friday
Email: oif@ala.org OR amaycock@ala.org
ALA/AASL membership is not required.

Posted on behalf of the Intellectual Freedom Committee


1. Carolyn Thomas - May 15, 2012

How can you have nudity as a complaint when there are no pictures? Are we supposed to censor our imaginations and visual images? Just asking.

2. Virginia Morton - May 15, 2012

The thing about this list is that it lacks sources. I can’t understand how an organization that endorses information integrity can list these books but not have any idea where or when the ban/challenge took place.

3. Melanie Gibson - May 15, 2012

This blog posting is meant to be brief, providing basic information about the topic. It includes links so that those who are interested can easily get more information. Follow the link in the posting to the ALA’s web site for complete lists by year of challenged books, with reasons, places of challenges, and a brief narrative of the results of the challenge. Or go directly to http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/free_downloads for a link at the bottom of the page to the PDF files of the brochures the ALA publishes each year with all of this information.

4. Hilda K. Weisburg - May 15, 2012

I also love the nudity issue on books without illustrations. I guess mentioning it is considered dangerous to young minds — who are never nude or think about their bodies or anyone else’s. Too many censors have no idea what happens in middle and high schools today — what the kids say and do. It’s the ostrich syndrome.

5. Helen Adams - May 15, 2012


ALA does have sources for the challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom; however, persons who report the challenges are promised confidentiality.

6. Amanda Reitz - July 28, 2012

Freedom to read books (life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)freedom of press. This is America people! I think anyone who is challenging these books are complete jerks and should be counter-sued for trying to have these authors books banned. It’s not right! you don’t have to read the books and you can stop your kids from reading them if you don’t want them to. so get lives, stop being ignorant, find a new hobby and leave the damn books alone!

7. Amanda Reitz - July 28, 2012

This is just dumb. This is America! Freedom of speech, press, pursuit of happiness?! HELLO?! I think all these people that people that try to challenge or ban books should be counter sued because this is just purely ignorant. Get a life and a new hobby seriously leave the amazing authors and their awesome books alone. You hear worst things on the freaking news. If you don’t like the book don’t read it! Don’t want your kids reading it? Then don’t let them buy it. And if you do I hope they go behind your back, buy it and read it anyway!

8. James Buchanan - August 14, 2012

I find it unusual that To Kill a Mockingbird is still controversial for the reasons of offensive language and racism. Ironically the author is standing up to words like “nigger” and exposing racism as one of the horrible realities of life, clearly and with sympathy to those who suffer from it. If we should have such a thing as required reading, then To Kill a Mockingbird should be on the list, not only because of its message but also because it’s a great work of American literature.

9. Celebrate Banned Books Week | Sketchy Details - July 27, 2013

[…] of books wind up being challenged or banned in America? Any and every kind you can imagine. The most challenged list from 2011 includes The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (including at least one citation for […]

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