Special Report

25 Most Banned Books in America

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

20. Sex is a Funny Word
> Author: Cory Silverberg
> Original publication: 2015
> Recently banned or challenged in: Athens, Alabama; Springfield, Missouri; Ludlow, Massachusetts

“Sex is a Funny Word,” widely considered a classic of sex education, has attracted opprobrium because it normalizes LGBTQ relationships and identities and in general is sex-positive, providing accurate and non-judgmental information about human sexuality. Opponents of the book maintain that sex education of this kind will lead to children becoming promiscuous.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

19. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
> Author: Jill Twiss
> Original publication: 2018
> Recently banned or challenged in: Tahlequah, Oklahoma; Terrell, Texas; Orange City, Iowa

You knew this one, brought into being by “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver, was going to get into trouble: It depicts a gay relationship between Marlon Bundo (the name of the real-life pet rabbit of former vice-president Mike Pence) and a bunny named Wesley. To make matters worse, it is a parody of “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President,” a book written by Pence’s daughter Charlotte and illustrated by his wife, Karen. Surprisingly, Charlotte Pence expressed her support of the parody, whose proceeds benefit AIDS United and The Trevor Project, dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youths.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

18. Two Boys Kissing
> Author: David Levithan
> Original publication: 2013
> Recently banned or challenged in: Orange City, Iowa; Fauquier County, Virginia; Utah County, Utah

Its title alone would be enough to induce apoplexy among the book-burning set – and indeed the narrative, based on a real-life attempt by two 17-year-old boys to set a Guinness World Record by kissing for 32 hours, was widely condemned for its positive depiction of a gay relationship. A religious activist in Iowa included “Two Boys Kissing” in the pile of books he burned on-camera in 2018.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

17. The Glass Castle
> Author: Jeannette Walls
> Original publication: 2005
> Recently banned or challenged in: Traverse City, Michigan; Mansfield, Wisconsin; Highland Park, Texas

This heartfelt memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional nomadic family, by onetime MSNBC.com gossip columnist Jeannette Walls, was a smash hit, selling more than four million copies and being translated into more than 30 languages. Attacked in some quarters for its salty language and sexual situations, the book was removed from some high school libraries – but eventually returned to the shelves in most cases.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

16. Bone (series)
> Author: Jeff Smith
> Original publication: 1991-2004
> Recently banned or challenged in: Colleyville & Watauga, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota

The “Bone” series, about a trio of hapless toons lost in a fairy-tale valley, encompasses nine bound volumes of what were originally a total of 55 black-and-white graphic-novel-style comic books (the volumes have also been issued in color). News that the series had appeared on the ALA’s list of the 10 most banned books of 2013 and had been censured for “political viewpoint, racism, violence” elicited widespread disbelief. Jeff Smith, a board member for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, commented “I’m starting to think such outrageous accusations (really, racism?) say more about the people who make them than about the books themselves.”

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