Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2023. American Library Association

The Most Challenged Books of 2023

On the morning of Right to Read Day, Monday, April 8, the American Library Association unveiled its highly anticipated list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023.

The Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023 are:

1.   Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
2.   All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
3.   This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
4.   The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
5.   Flamer by Mike Curato
6.   The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
7/8. (TIE) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
7/8. (TIE) Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
9.   Let’s Talk About It by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan
10. Sold by Patricia McCormick

The Top 10 list was included as part of ALA’s annual 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 amid an avalanche of censorship challenges and adverse legislation in states across the country.

Unite Against Book Bans has made book résumés for each of the above titles available to support librarians, educators, parents, students, and community advocates in defending books from censorship.

Last month, ALA released censorship data from 2023, revealing a stratospheric increase in the number of unique titles targeted for censorship and a shift of censors’ focus from schools to public libraries. ALA documented 17 states that each saw attempts to censor more than 100 unique titles, with Florida far and away eclipsing all other states with more than 2,600 unique titles challenged.

A Troubling Trend Continues

A recurring theme in the Top 10 list has again surfaced in 2023: nearly all of the most challenged books in America are written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about people of color.

Indeed, the top five in the list were all challenged for “LGBTQIA+ content,” according to ALA.

“In looking at the titles of the most challenged books from last year, it’s obvious that the pressure groups are targeting books about LGBTQIA+ people and people of color,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski. “At ALA, we are fighting for the freedom to choose what you want to read. Shining a light on the harmful workings of these pressure groups is one of the actions we must take to protect our right to read.”

The release of the Top 10 list is also a call to action, Join us by taking action today, and every day after, on Right to Read Day. Whether you have five minutes or five hours, there are plenty of actions you can take, including contacting your elected officials, making a plan to attend your library’s next board meeting, or even simply thanking your librarian for all they do.