Banned books Week kicked off yesterday, September 27th, and runs through October 3rd. This year’s theme, “Censorship is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read,” reminds us that censorship serves no purpose except to limit exploration and block our access to information. Check out this year’s most frequently banned books, plus grab some amazing free printables and other resources from the American Library Association.

Find Your Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

You may also likeBanned Books Week, Censorship and Quotes from Challenged Books

2019’s Most Frequently Challenged Books

Let’s start by taking a look at last year’s most frequently challenged books, as it’s very telling. The ALA put out a great video that lists the top 10.

Here is the list in regular format, for those who can’t see the video very well (or at all). Note that this section does include affiliate links.


Reasons given for challenges and bans include, LGBTQIA+ content, a transgender main character, conflicting with a religious agenda, conflicting with “traditional family structure,” and, my favorite (sarcasm) of all, ” because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion.”

2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

The 2015 Stonewell Honor Book about the lives, loves and struggles of transgender teenagers is #2 on the list. Challenged for the “effect” the LGBTQIA+ content could have on “any young people who would read it,” and because it’s “biased.”

3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

banned books week challenged books

This one wasn’t just challenged, but also vandalized, for LGBTQIA+ content and, among other things, worries that is was written to “pollute the morals of its readers.”

This one doesn’t give me the option to embed, but you can look inside of it on Amazon.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo: Better Bundo Book, LGBT Children’s Book
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bundo, Marlon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 03/18/2018 (Publication Date) - Chronicle Books LLC (Publisher)

4. Sex is a Funny Word

banned books week challenged books

Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content; for talking about gender identity for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate.”

You can request a free sample or look inside on Amazon.

Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Silverberg, Cory (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 07/28/2015 (Publication Date) - Triangle Square (Publisher)

5. Prince & Knight

Challenged and restricted because it features a gay marriage. According to ALA, other reasons include, “for being ‘a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children’ with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint.”

As this one isn’t available for Kindle, you can’t request a free sample. However, you can look inside of it on Amazon.

Prince & Knight
  • Hardcover Book
  • Haack, Daniel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 05/01/2018 (Publication Date) - little bee books (Publisher)

6. I Am Jazz

Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for having a transgender character, and for its focus on a topic that some consider “controversial and politically charged.”

Request a sample of the Kindle version or Look Inside on Amazon.

I Am Jazz
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Herthel, Jessica (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 09/04/2014 (Publication Date) - Dial Books (Publisher)

7. The Handmaid’s Tale

Banned and challenged for because it includes “profanity” and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones.” I find it ironic that this one appears on banned books lists, given that the very people who seek to ban it the most are the same people who would love nothing more than to see it become reality. Hmmm, maybe that’s why they ban it. They wouldn’t want us to see what’s in for us if they have their way.

8. Drama

banned books week I am Jazz

Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it “goes against family values/morals.”

Drama: A Graphic Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Telgemeier, Raina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 07/29/2014 (Publication Date) - Graphix (Publisher)

9. Harry Potter

banned books week I am Jazz

Along with obvious complaints from right-wing conservatives about the book’s reference to magic, it’s been banned and FORBIDDEN from discussion because characters use “nefarious means” to attain goals. Forbidden from discussion? Seriously?

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
  • Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories
  • J. K. Rowling (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/01/2009 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Inc. (Publisher)

10. And Tango Makes Three

banned books week I am Jazz

This sweet story about a family of penguins has been challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content.

And Tango Makes Three
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Richardson, Justin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 36 Pages - 06/02/2015 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Book bans and challenges are on the rise

Overall, 566 different works were banned, challenged, and relocated throughout 2019 compared to 483 in 2018 and 416 in 2017, according to the ALA. There were 607 total affected materials (including magazines, news papers, and such), a 14% increase from 2017.

Banned Books Week: Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019 + Free Resources


The ALA has some great free activity sheets for all ages over in their Resources section, including a word search puzzle, a maze showing that censorship truly is a dead end, and more. You can also download some great social media graphics and other shareables, like this one:

Banned Books Week: Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019 + Free Resources

I highly encourage everyone to spend some time on their site learning about banned books. I also encourage you to take the time to read one or more for yourself. We cannot allow bullies to dictate the information that we have access to. That way leads to no place but a dead end for all of us. Censorship is a weapon used to control, not a tool used to protect. We must do more than find our right to read, we must continue to fight for it.

End of rant. Now, go read a banned book!



Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API