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American Library Association's official home for member downloads about banned books.

As ALA members, we know it's critical that readers have access to a range of narratives at their library or school — to see themselves and learn about others within the pages of a book. In 2020, more than 273 books were challenged or banned. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 list.

What can you do?

  • Draw attention to censorship and highlight the need for diverse books
  • Encourage other members and library workers to celebrate Banned Books Week
  • Consider joining the Intellectual Freedom Round Table or making a donation to American Library Association's Banned Books Week to ensure this important work continues.

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Here's a Canva template to share a personal favorite book from the Top Ten and to highlight reading the #BannedBooksList.

Books Unite Us. I've Read a Top Ten Most Challenged Book of 2020

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#BannedBooksList in the News

"What got books challenged or banned in 2020? Strong, anti-racist messages aimed at kids or teens." by Nara Schenberg in the Chicago Tribune. "But 2020 was a year like no other, and that was reflected in the books Americans tried to exile from classrooms and library shelves. Four of the top 10 most challenged or banned books of 2020 named by the American Library Association tackled issues highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement, including anti-Black racism and allegations of police brutality. “This is a shift,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It reflects the concerns and conversations we’ve been having as a society and a country, villainizing the idea that we should consider racism inherent in American history.”

“George” Tops Most Challenged List for Third Year in a Row: “Stamped” Takes No. 2 Spot" by Kara Yorio in School Library Journal. "Caldwell-Stone says these challenges to "classics" are a reflection of the critical evaluation of books and curricula that is happening in schools. The OIF does not support removing any books from library shelves. "It's firmly our position that books ought not be censored in any way, but rather that the opportunity to discover and read diverse authors should be expanded in schools, so that you can illuminate and interrogate the older texts by reading the newer texts that reflect other viewpoints, diversity of points, that reflect the views and ideas of BIPOC authors in particular," she said."

"Books by Steinbeck, Alexie among most objected to in 2020" by Hillel Italie (AP Reporter) in the Washington Post. “The shutdowns didn’t just make it less likely that patrons would complain, but because of all the furloughs and layoffs at schools and libraries, it disrupted the whole infrastructure that enables us to be aware of complaints,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who directs the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

"Annual 'Banned Books' list includes Steinbeck, bestsellers on racial justice" by Jane Henderson in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Middle-Grade Trans Novel Most Challenged Book for Third Year in a Row" by Mey Rude in the Advocate.

"Sharp rise in parents seeking to ban anti-racist books in US schools" by Alison Flood in The Guardian. "An annual list that is regularly dominated by titles covering LGBTQ+ issues, the ALA’s Top 10 most challenged books contains a number of anti-racism titles for the first time in 2020."

"ALA Releases 2020 Most Challenged Books List by Andrew Albanese in Publishers Weekly

Activities

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