Books about minorities and non-”straight” people were the kind most often banned in the US in 2021, according to the American Library Association (ALA).
In 2021, more books were banned than in any other year of the 20 years that the ALA has been keeping records.
The rise in numbers in 2021 is attributed to social media where lists of books adults think inappropriate for children circulate.
Parents and community members lobbied school boards to remove certain books from school and public libraries. 1597 individual books were either challenged or removed, according to the ALA. The actual count might be different since the ALA gathers its information from the media and self-reporting by libraries.
Librarians have been threatened with legal prosecution over the book choices they have made. These threats might be skewing the choices librarians make, encouraging them to choose books espousing “traditional” values and discouraging books about sexual orientation and racial issues.
The ten most banned books in the US during 2021 are
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Banned, challenged and restricted for LGBTQ+ content and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson Banned and challenged for LGBTQ+ content, profanity and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez Banned, challenged and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Banned and challenged for profanity, violence and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
- This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson Banned, challenged, relocated and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQ+ content.
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit