Across America, there has been a push to ban and challenge books. According to the American Library Association's Banned Books FAQ, "A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon the objections of a person or group, while a banning is the removal of those materials." The top 3 reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom are:
However, the reasons books are challenged tend to reflect homophobic and/or racist agendas. Local government and school boards deem books as pornographic when the material in question merely focuses on members of the BIPOC or LGBTQ+ communities. A county prosecutor’s office in Wyoming considered criminal charges against library employees for stocking books such as This Book is Gay and Sex Is a Funny Word. People from marginalized communities just living their lives is not threatening to children.
Furthermore, book banning has a long, dark history and was practiced by the Nazis when "Books were banned or burned categorically by the government if the authors had Jewish lineage, communistic or pacifist sympathies. These books were completely unavailable to the public under the control of the Nazis." To quote German poet, Heinrich Heine, "Where they burn books, they will also burn people."
Banning books or even burning them, like the Nazis, is not something a democracy does, and is more damaging to children than anything published in those books could ever do to them.
Below is a list of the top ten challenged books of 2021 as compiled by the American Library Association's Office For Intellectual Freedom.
Top 10 Challenged Books Of 2021