ALA Releases Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Decade

Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" tops the list.


The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) kicked off Banned Books Week today by releasing the Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Decade (2010-2019). Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is No. 1 with the "Captain Underpants" series by Dav Pilkey, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Looking for Alaska by John Green, and George by Alex Gino rounding out the Top 5. George was the most challenged book of the last two years. Among the week of events on the Banned Books Week Facebook page, the OIF will host a Q&A with Gino about censorship and the importance of representation in literature on Wednesday, September 30 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Year after year, LGBTQIA+ content is the top reason for challenges, and the OIF has reported a rise in those attempts in recent years. Some newer titles with LGBTQIA+ themes and characters vaulted up the list thanks to challenges over the last few years. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, a parody book about vice president Mike Pence's pet rabbit from the staff of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, was released less than three years ago but cracked the Top 20 of the all-decade list at No. 19.

Familiar titles and authors from decades ago share the list with later generations and more recent releases. There's Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, John Steinbeck, and Harper Lee, as well as Angie Thomas, Raina Telgemeier, and Mariko Tamaki. Toni Morrison and Walter Dean Myers appear twice. Eric Carle's Draw Me a Star, challenged for an illustration of a naked man and woman, is No. 64, a couple of spots behind Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl at No. 62 because of its sexual material and homosexual themes. The Holy Bible checks in at No. 52, challenged for having a religious viewpoint. (The Bible made the Top 10 in 2015 when then director of the OIF James LaRue noted that at times the challenge to the Bible is a counteraction after a religious group challenges another title.)  

The OIF has been compiling an annual list of most banned and challenged books since 1990. This list represents both public and confidential reports OIF received but is only a glimpse at what is happening at schools and public libraries around the country. Anywhere from 82 to 97 percent of challenges go unreported, according to OIF, which compared its database with the results from independent students of third-party Freedom of Information Act requests regarding school and library book censorship. The books are challenged for different reasons, including LGBTQIA+ content, sexual references, religious viewpoints, content that addresses racism and police brutality, and profanity.

[Read: Virtual Banned Books Week Ideas and Events]

Here are the Top 100 of 2010-2019:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  2. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  5. George by Alex Gino
  6. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  7. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  8. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
  9. Internet Girls (series) by Lauren Myracle
  10. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  11. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  12. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  13. I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
  14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  16. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
  17. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  18. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  19. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
  20. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg
  21. Alice McKinley (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  22. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
  23. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  24. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
  25. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  26. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  27. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  28. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  29. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  30. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  31. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
  32. It's a Book by Lane Smith
  33. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  34. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  35. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
  36. A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
  37. Bad Kitty (series) by Nick Bruel
  38. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  39. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  40. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  41. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey
  42. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
  43. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
  44. A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  45. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  46. Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine
  47. In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco
  48. Lush by Natasha Friend
  49. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  50. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  51. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  52. The Holy Bible
  53. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
  54. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  55. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  56. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
  57. House of Night (series) by P.C. Cast
  58. My Mom's Having A Baby by Dori Hillestad Butler
  59. Neonomicon by Alan Moore
  60. The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake
  61. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  62. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  63. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  64. Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle
  65. Dreaming In Cuban by Cristina Garcia
  66. Fade by Lisa McMann
  67. The Family Book by Todd Parr
  68. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  69. Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
  70. Habibi by Craig Thompson
  71. House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  72. Jacob's New Dress by Sarah Hoffman
  73. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  74. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  75. Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
  76. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
  77. Stuck in the Middle by Ariel Schrag
  78. The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
  79. 1984 by George Orwell
  80. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  81. Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
  82. Awakening by Kate Chopin
  83. Burned by Ellen Hopkins
  84. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  85. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  86. Glass by Ellen Hopkins
  87. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  88. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  89. Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans
  90. My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
  91. Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack
  92. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology by Amy Sonnie
  93. Skippyjon Jones (series) by Judith Schachner
  94. So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
  95. The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa
  96. The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
  97. The Walking Dead (series) by Robert Kirkman
  98. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
  99. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S Brannen
  100. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
[READ: The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019]

See the full press release from ALA:


Author Image
Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

Gianna Dekermenjian

It is crazy to see "The Holy Bible" and "Captain Underpants" are going to be one of the books that are band. I currently read my bible daily or at least I try it is the foundation of who I am. I also grew my imagination from reading and looking through captain underpants books

Posted : Sep 30, 2020 03:38



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing