America’s most banned book is a children’s novel about a trans girl for the third year in a row.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracks and compiles an annual list of the most frequently banned and contested books in libraries, schools, and bookstores in the United States, celebrating them each year during the Week. of the forbidden book.
In recent years, LGBT-themed books have dominated the list, with eight out of 10 books on the 2019 list being censored for their queer content.
Surprisingly, the recently released 2020 list cites just one book “disputed, banned and restricted for LGBTQIA + content.”
But, this is not good news. On the contrary, it seems that the censors were more outraged by the books tackling America’s current account with racism and police brutality.
Three of the top ten books were challenged for promoting “anti-police views”. A fourth, Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, was recognized for the “public statements” of its authors and because it “does not encompass racism against everyone”.
For the third consecutive year, George Alex Gino’s remains the most contested book in the United States. Children’s novel about a young person trans girl has been on the Top 10 list since 2016, and she held the # 1 spot from 2018-2020.
According to the OIF, the book was “contested, banned and restricted for LGBTQIA + content, in conflict with a religious point of view” and “not reflecting the ‘values of our community'”.
In an interview with Yahoo Life, Gino said they did not consider being the most banned perpetrator in the United States for three consecutive years as a badge of honor.
“I think something people see from the outside is like, ‘Oh, you’re doing the thing that pisses people off! Oh, look at you! How cool! ‘”
“It might be cool if it’s not your identity that’s at stake. Right?”
They continued, “For example, if a privileged person, say a cisgender white woman, writes about a sexual relationship that she enjoys, and it is banned or contested, that is what society thinks about that action.
“Just someone who’s transgender – he doesn’t do anything, he’s just transgender – and is this book banned?” It is my existence that is so frightening and so reprehensible and so monstrous that I cannot be shown to children.
Many of the books on the Top 10 list reflected landmark moments in last year’s history with a strong emphasis on racism and anti-racist perspectives.
Two books co-authored by Jason Reynolds – Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You and All the American boys (with Brendan Kiely) – are number two and three on the list.
The OIF said people claimed the first book was banned and contested over “claims that the book contains ‘incidents of selective storytelling'” and does not encompass “racism against everyone” .
He reported All the American boys was challenged “because it was believed to promote anti-police views, contained divisive issues” and was “too sensitive an issue at the moment”.
Other books targeted for “anti-police” messages, including Angie thomas The hate you give and Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story of Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoi
The OIF followed last year 156 challenges in total concerning materials and services of libraries, schools and universities.
The list of books that have been banned, contested or restricted included a few usual suspects who focus on LGBT + narratives. This includes Jazz Jennings i’m jazz, gay fairy tale Prize & Knight and A day in the life of Marlon Bundo which features a gay rabbit.
American Library Association “State of America’s Libraries 2021 Report” detailed the reasons why these books were targeted. A word cloud in the report revealed that “LGBTQIA +”, “glorifying same-sex marriage” and “brainwashing children” were all “reasons for challenges” but did not specify which books received those challenges.