America's Top Banned Books: What They Are and Why

About this article
The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) keeps a record of complaints that have been lodged against books in American libraries and schools. See which books are challenged the most and what it is people don't like about them.
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Harry

The most challenged book of the 21st century.

Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century

According to reports issued by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the following books are the most challenged books of the 21st century. Some of these books are less than ten years old. Other books, such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have been around for ages.

Book Author Why It Was Challenged Read an Excerpt
Harry Potter Series JK Rowling Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Chocolate War Robert Cormier Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence Excerpt from The Chocolate War
Olive's Ocean Kevin Henkes Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language Excerpt from Olive's Ocean
The Golden Compass Philip Pullman Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from The Golden Compass
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain Racism Excerpt from Huckleberry Finn
The Color Purple Alice Walker Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language Excerpt from The Color Purple
TTYL Lauren Myracle Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from TTYL
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou Sexually Explicit Excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
It's Perfectly Normal Robie Harris Sex Education, Sexually Explicit Excerpt from It's Perfectly Normal
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Most Challenged Books of the 1990s

Censors were busy in the 1990s. Between 1990 and 2000, they made more than 10,000 attempts to have books banned from libraries and schools. According to reports issued by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the following ten novels were the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s.

Book Author Why It Was Challenged Read an Excerpt
Scary Stories Series Alvin Schwartz Unsuited to Age Group, Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Scary Stories
Daddy's Roommate Michael Willhoite Religious Viewpoint, Homosexuality, Anti-Family Excerpt from Daddy's Roommate
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou Sexually Explicit Excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The Chocolate War Robert Cormier Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence Excerpt from The Chocolate War
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain Racism Excerpt from Huckleberry Finn
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck Offensive Language, Violence, Racism Excerpt from Of Mice and Men
Harry Potter Series JK Rowling Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Forever Judy Blume Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from Forever
Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from Bridge to Terabithia
Alice Series Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group Excerpt from Alice Alone

Other Frequently Challenged Books

These books get an honorable mention because they have appeared numerous times on past lists. All of them are still on the American Library Association's list of the 100 most challenged books.

Book Author Why It Was Challenged Read an Excerpt
The Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Racism Excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird
The Giver Lois Lowry Violence, Religious Viewpoint Excerpt from The Giver
A Day No Pigs Would Die Robert Newton Peck Violence, Offensive Language Excerpt from A Day No Pigs Would Die
Lord of the Flies William Golding Offensive Language Excerpt from Lord of the Flies

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Saint Leo University

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Colorado Christian University

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Full Sail University

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The George Washington University

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  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
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  • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

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Grand Canyon University

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Purdue University Global

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College of Health Care Professions

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Queens University of Charlotte

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