Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023

Every year, the American Library Association compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books based on reports from the field and media coverage.
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The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to defend each person's right to read under the First Amendment and to ensure free access to information. Every year, ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from reports filed by library professionals and community members, as well as news stories published throughout the United States.

Because many book challenges are not reported to the ALA or covered by the press, the Top Most Challenged Books lists and data compiled by ALA represent only a snapshot of book challenges. A challenge to a book may be resolved in favor of retaining the book in the collection, or it can result in a book being restricted or withdrawn from the library.

ALA documented 4,240 unique book titles targeted for censorship in 2023—a 65% surge over 2022 numbers—as well as 1,247 demands to censor library books, materials, and resources. Pressure groups focused on public libraries in addition to targeting school libraries. The number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92% over the previous year, accounting for about 46% of all book challenges in 2023.

Of the record 4,240 unique titles targeted for censorship, the most challenged and reasons cited for censoring the books are listed below.

Looking for the most challenged books from previous years? Check out the Top 10 Most Challenged Books Archive for lists and data going back to 2001, as well as the 100 most challenged books of past decades.

Your support matters now more than ever. Donations strengthen ALA's efforts to fight censorship, support libraries and library workers confronting attempts to remove materials and other resources, and increase awareness about the nationwide assault on the freedom to read. If you're able, please consider donating to the Office for Intellectual Freedom today.

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1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Book

Number of challenges: 106

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

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2. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson

Book

Number of challenges: 82

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

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3. This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson

Book

Number of challenges: 71

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, sex education, claimed to be sexually explicit

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4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Book

Number of challenges: 68

Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content, rape, drugs, profanity

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Book Résumé

5. Flamer by Mike Curato

Book

Number of challenges: 67

Challenged for: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit

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6. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Bookcover:

Number of challenges: 62

Challenged for: rape, incest, claimed to be sexually explicit, EDI content

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7/8. (tie) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Book

Number of challenges: 56

Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity

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7/8. (tie) Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Book

Number of challenges: 56

Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit, drugs, rape, LGBTQIA+ content

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9. Let's Talk About It: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan

Book

Number of challenges: 55

Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit, sex education, LGBTQIA+ content

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10. Sold by Patricia McCormick

Book

Number of challenges: 53

Challenged for: claimed to be sexually explicit, rape

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The Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023 infographic was released as part of the 2024 State of America's Libraries Report.

View the Full Report

Mapping Challenges to the Freedom to Read

Map

ALA analyzes censorship data and compiles lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. Explore challenges of past years with our collection of Field Reports, as well as lists of the most challenged books of the last three decades.

Censorship data from 2023 paints a vivid picture of attempts to ban or restrict library books and resources across the United States. We break down censorship by the numbers.

Learn More

Coming Soon: The Book Report

Report

The Book Report, formerly known as the Field Report, examines attempts to curtail the freedom to read in 2023, offering more information about censorship attacks on the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023, as well as details on an additional 10 titles. This annual report is the perfect handout for those who don’t know about the scope of censorship in libraries and for readers who want to stay informed about recent attempts to restrict access to information. Available for order now in the ALA store, shipping in June.

You can also browse past Field Reports for free on the OIF blog.