In coordination with National Library Week (April 23-29), the American Library Association (ALA) has released of its list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022 and the State of America’s Libraries Report, which tells the story of how libraries are innovating and adapting to improve the well-being of their communities in the midst of censorship challenges.
This year, however, there were multiple books that received the same number of challenges – resulting in the expansion of the list to 13 titles.
Libraries in every state faced another year of unprecedented attempts to ban books. In 2022, ALA tracked the highest number of censorship reports since the association began compiling data about library censorship more than 20 years ago. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted in 2021. Most of the targeted books were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color. Detailed 2022 book ban data.
“By releasing the list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books each year, ALA recognizes all of the brave authors whose work challenges readers with stories that disrupt the status quo and offer fresh perspectives on tough issues," said ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada. "The list also illustrates how frequently stories by or about LGBTQ+ persons, people of color, and lived experiences are being targeted by censors. Closing our eyes to the reality portrayed in these stories will not make life’s challenges disappear. Books give us courage and help us understand each other. It's time to take action on behalf of authors, library staff, and the communities they serve. ALA calls on readers everywhere to show your commitment to the freedom to read by doing something to protect it.”
The Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022:
“Gender Queer,” by Maia Kobabe; Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
“All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George M. Johnson; Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
“The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison; Reasons: depiction of sexual abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit, EDI content
“Flamer,” by Mike Curato; Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
Tied: “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content
and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content, depiction of sexual abuse, drugs, profanity
“Lawn Boy,” by Jonathan Evison; Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
“Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
Tie: “A Court of Mist and Fury,” by Sarah J. Maas; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
and “Crank,” by Ellen Hopkins; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, drugs
and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” by Jesse Andrews; Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
and “This Book is Gay,” by Juno Dawson; Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sex education, claimed to be sexually explicit
In response to the uptick in book challenges and other efforts to suppress access to information, ALA has designated every Monday of National Library Week moving forward as Right to Read Day, a day of action that encourages communities to fight back against censorship and to protect and celebrate the right to read freely. This year’s National Library Week also marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Unite Against Book Bans, a nationwide initiative that empowers readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.