The Most Challenged Books of 2011

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The American Library Association released their annual list of “most challenged” books this week. According to their report, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received 326 reports* of attempts to pull or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves across the country.

Here’s a list of the top 10 books.

A display of challenged or banned books in the Youth Services department at the Lansing Public Library in Lansing, Ill.

A display of challenged or banned books in the Youth Services department at the Lansing Public Library in Lansing, Ill.

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

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

3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

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

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

6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

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

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

10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Read the most commonly cited reasons for the books to be banned or restricted at the ALA’s Censorship Watch Blog. You can see a complete list of the top 100 titles banned in the ’00s at the American Library Association website.

TIME Magazine also covers the history of book-banning in America, including stories about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Harry Potter series, 1984 and The Satanic Verses, and others.

*A challenge is defined 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.


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ALA: State of America’s Libraries Report 2012

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  • Anonymous

    “Brave New World”?  “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  Pul-leeze.

    As a poster on ALA’s site quoted,  “Censorship is denying a man a steak because a baby can’t chew it.” ~Mark Twain

  • Kathleen Muniz

    The Hunger Games striking too close to home???  It should be required reading for middle school students, 7th or 8th grade.  Very well done and gives one much to think about, regardless of age.

  • Dspeterson54

    Glad to see And Tango Makes Three is finally off the list. One of the most ludicrous challenges, ever!

  • Claire

    So many talk about the present goverment being socialism. Banning books suggested would certainly been seen as what i feel is socialism or comunistic. What is this country coming too what are we allowing to happen? Books such as these make us think and feel?

  • JRRoman

     Which is mostly a crock of bull put out by the republican propaganda machine. Check out who the real censors are.

  • Bbrock1945

    Amen, JRRoman you are ‘right on’!

  • Michael Nellis

    Really, Bill, I’ve thought for a few years now that anti-censorship advocates would recognize that there is a difference between banning a book and banning a series of books. A series usually comprises from three to several volumes; or in the case of the Alice series, twenty-four. If you count up the total number of books challenged or banned as per the above list,  there are fifty-two titles. How about putting a bug in someone’s britches and getting the separate categories recognized?

  • Michael Nellis

     The most ludicrous censorial challenge in the U.S. was to Where’s Waldo. Followed closely by challenges to two of Dr. Seuss’s works; The Lorax and The Butter Battle Book.

  • Monica

     Actually, it’s fascism. Loss of freedom. Tightening of controls because people are afraid of the rapid change society is experiencing.

  • Eason Dobbs

    It’s a shame to see “To Kill A Mockingbird” n the short list.

  • jerry

     You mean fascism.

  • Katy McNabb

    My child’s school actually celebrates Banned Books Week as does our local library and bookstore. Not all of the kids can grasp the concept of censorship but they love the idea of reading something “taboo”.    

  • Anonymous

    And a real American librarian hero of the  ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom: 


    Inappropriate to whom?  A bunch of sexually dysfunctional, bible-thumping  old biddies with too much time on their hands???

  • Bochef

    I lived in Clyde, Ohio, setting for Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio” an American classic, but unwelcome and burned in the town. By the time I arrived, Anderson had become a revered son, the library had a section in his honor, and now, decades later every other place in town proudly calls itself “Winesburg”.  “We slay our prophets and then honor those we have martyred” Brothers Karamazov.

  • dhamme

    Infinite Jest

  • LACA's Library Blog » The Most Challenged Books of 2011

    […] HERE to see the […]

  • Anonymous

    I had no idea this was a thing in america.  Banned books?  No book should be banned, but of all the awful garbage out there they’re banning some of the absolute classics.  To Kill a Mockingbird is not only an amazing book, but was required reading in my school.  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck number 5 on the 100 titles banned in the ’00s, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain number 14?!?  Horrifying.  It’s not surprising that many in america can’t handle good literature, but their denying others the joy of reading such masterpieces is criminal.  Though I find it a little amusing that such books are still so threatening to closed minds that they resort to trying to ban them still.

    Why aren’t any of Ann Coulter’s or Glenn Beck’s books on this list?

  • Bricknercj

    I hereby challenge the Bible!  Pervasive violence and murder.  Rampant smiting.  The undead.  And have you read Song of Solomon?  *Pure. Smut.*

  • Barbara Blough

    I am tickled pink to see that people are still reading To Kill A Mockingbird!  One of the all-time best stories ever.  Period.

  • Barbara Blough

     I think people are lost in their frantic lives and fear of everything.  Absolutely no time to think, laugh or live.  And we’ve done it to ourselves.  Thanks for your insights!

  • Barbara Blough

     We haven’t changed much since we crawled out of the swamp.  Think we will before we commit suicide and call it murder?

  • Barbara Blough

     Unbelievable, right?

  • Lenard

    OK, I’m ask – WHY?
    Why is “To Kill A Mockingbird” on the list of banned books??
    What is in the book that is so taboo, so forbidden that it must be taken off  library selves and deleted from the school curricula???

    I would like to know the reason behind the challenge against such a great classic.

  • Anonymous

    The banning or burning of ANY book gives me the same visceral disgust as seeing a swastika painted on a wall, or marching men in white hoods and robes… It sends chills up my spine…

  • Marge Wood

    My number one series that I think should be removed from library shelves is the LEFT BEHIND: THE KIDS. They are horror books posing as theological fiction. 

  • Marge Wood

    All of our kids were required to read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I don’t know why anyone would object to it. And re: LEFT BEHIND: THE KIDS, even though I find them very objectionable, I realized that patrons requested that they buy the books. Kids of a certain age love horror. I just object to it because folks think that the Bible actually says what these authors say. 

  • ecotopian

    No, it should not be required reading.   It is way too violent for kids that age, unless you want kids to emulate a murderer.  The main character kills for the entertainment of others.  Whatever higher meaning that is supposedly in this book, is being lost on most kids who read it.  If a non-lethal version of this book opened as a theme park, kids would be lining up around the block to get in.  They have missed the message of this book because no one is actually talking about it.  It’s far easier to offer archery lessons than to discuss the violence and hunger in the book and how it affects the reader and what they could do to alleviate both in their own communities.

    No, by the way, I don’t think the book should be banned.  If people want to read,  let them.  There are far better written books out there that deal with this subject, though, and those should be required.

  • Panarican3

    My mouth dropped with this one as well…for anyone who is disengaged with what is going on politically, banning To Kill a Mockingbird is a very real canary in the mine. I imagine they are trying hard to bury and kill any inspiration that might be brought on by Atticus Finch’s character, his service to justice, his integrity, but most of all… his humanity. I reside in Kansas, which has it’s issues, but the censoring I believe is everywhere. As a mother of an 8yo boy and 7yo girl, I really have my work cut out for me if teachers are going to be hog tied and gagged in this manner.