The Hub

News, Notes, Talk

Surprise: the ALA’s 2020 list of most challenged books shows an uptick in antiracist texts.

Avatar

April 7, 2021, 12:32pm

The American Library Association has released their annual list of the most challenged books of 2020 (books with the most attempts to censor or ban them). The list is studded with books about societal inequity and discovering your identity—you know, books about real life.

A few classics made their way into the top ten, but many of the most challenged books deal with current-day systematic racism and police violence; demands to remove books addressing these topics, and books with protagonists of color, spiked in number this year. Books with LGBTQ themes continue to dominate the list—the most challenged book of 2020, Alex Gino’s George, is the story of a fourth-grade transgender girl. The fourth most challenged book, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a story of a teen rape survivor reclaiming her voice, was challenged for being “biased against male students.”

Ibram X. Kendi was “not at all surprised” to see his own book on the list, he told School Library Journal. “It is ironic that our book is being challenged since it documents how generations of Americans have challenged the idea that the racial groups are equals and have fought to suppress the very truths contained on every page of Stamped. The heartbeat of racism is denial, and the history in Stamped will not be denied, nor will young people’s access to this book be canceled.”

Here’s the list:

1. Alex Gino, George

2. Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

3. Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, All American Boys

4. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

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

6. Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazard, Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice

7. Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

8. John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

9. Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

10. Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

Happy reading!

[via ALA]

%d bloggers like this: