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Why these 13 books faced more attempted library bans than any others in 2022 | The 19th

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Why these 13 books faced more attempted library bans than any others in 2022 | The 19th

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, president of the American Library Association, discussed a year of unprecedented book bans — many targeting titles with LGBTQIA-related content.

In 2022, the American Library Association (ALA) recorded the most attempted book bans ever during its history of tracking censorship, and all of the 13 most-challenged books have one thing in common: They contain content deemed sexually explicit. 

Last year, 2,571 unique titles were challenged, a spike from 1,858 in 2021, the ALA found. Forty-eight percent of these challenges originated in public libraries, 41 percent in school libraries, 10 percent in schools generally, and 1 percent in higher education libraries and other institutions.

The newly released most-challenged list includes an eclectic mix of titles, many of which also appeared on the 2021 list. Among them are Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer” (2019), Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” (1970) and Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (2007). Two books — Mike Curato’s “Flamer” (2020) and Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Mist and Fury” (2016) — debuted on the list the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has compiled for more than two decades to draw attention to censorship in libraries and schools. This year’s list reveals once again that books with LGBTQ+ subject matter are top targets of censorship, as seven of the titles address gender and/or sexual identity.