Banned Books of 2019

Posted on September 25, 2020

by Daphne Bechrakis

If you’ve ever visited the library in the last week of September, I’m sure you’re familiar with Banned Books Week. Every year, libraries across the country celebrate the right to read any book without fear of censorship or retaliation. It’s one of the great things about being an American; in libraries, we call it intellectual freedom.


However, every year, books are still being censored, challenged, and banned from libraries. There are, of course, the usual suspects: 1984, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Grapes of Wrath, and To Kill a Mockingbird, but some of the newer titles which are challenged may surprise you.


The following are the top 10 banned and challenged books of 2019 and their reasons for being banned and challenged according to the American Library Association. The full list of reasons for each books’ challenge can be found here. All of the following books can be checked out at LPCPL. 


George by Alex Gino 

Reasons: LGBTQ+ content


Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin 

Reasons: LGBTQ+ content, accused of being sexually explicit


A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller 

Reasons: LGBTQ+ content


Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth 

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, covering topics of sex education


Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis 

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content


I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas  

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 

Reasons: Profanity, “vulgarity and sexual overtones”


Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier  

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content 


Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling  

Reasons: Depicting witchcraft


And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole 

Reason: LGBTQIA+ content


Banned Books Week was originally launched in the 1980s, during a time of increased book challenges, protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, ruling that school officials cannot ban books in libraries based on content. The marketing initiative was led by Judith F. Krug and has been carried on by libraries ever since to promote intellectual freedom.


If you have any questions about Banned Books Week, or would like to find out more about how you can get involved, check out the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week advocacy page or ask about it at any library location!


Check out the American Library Association’s frequently challenged books lists to learn more about what books have been challenged in the past.

Daphne Bechrakis

Daphne Bechrakis

Daphne is a Public Services Librarian and Harry Potter enthusiast. In her free time, she enjoys reading, adding books to her ever-growing “to-be-read” list, hiking, and watching terrible movies with friends. One of her current life goals is to collect the entirety of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Her bucket list includes seeing the Aurora Borealis and going to Yellowstone National Park. She is the proud owner of a spider-plant named Skullcrusher III, first of its kind, which she has somehow managed not to kill yet.
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