Banned Books Week: Top 10 Challenged Books of 2021

Fight for your right to read!

This week is Banned Books Week, a week-long annual celebration that celebrates the freedom to read. Everyday, books are challenged and banned for their content, just because there is a chance that it might offend someone. So that is why the book community -librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and book lovers alike-come together to celebrate and value of free and open access to information. Everyone has the right to seek and express new ideas, even it turns out to be unpopular to some people.

We have seen a lot of book banning and censorship over the course of the past year. It is now more important than ever to continue the fight for every person’s right to read whatever they choose.

So, without further ado, here are the top challenged 10 books of 2021. Make sure to read these books in defiance:

  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    • Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images.
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Levison
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    • Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
  • This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    • Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  • Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 

Take a Look at Other Books That Have Been Banned/Challenged:

Flamer by Mike Curato

Curato went viral in July 2022 with his Instagram video addressing those that constantly send him harassing messages and attempt to ban his book.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

The All Pakistan Private School’s Federation announced that the book would be banned in its 152,000 member institutions, stating that it disrespected Islam and could have a “negative” influence.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Kyra and Phallon Pierce got this murder mystery removed from their 8th grade summer reading list at St. Dominic Catholic School (Quincy, IL) because the original title contained a racial epithet. The twins then realized that the school’s reading list lacked diversity so they worked with legislators to craft Illinois House Bill 3254 which would require any school board using Title I funds to require diversity in reading assignments.

Grimms’ Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm was banned in classrooms below the 6th grade in Arizona in 1994, due to “excessive violence, negative portrayals of female characters, and anti-Semitic references.”

Although the Brothers Grimm were the collectors rather than the inventors of the fairy tales they published, they were still banned in Germany after the fall of the Nazis. The collection was banned by the Allies who claimed the roots of Nazism could be found in the stories; particularly citing the way the Nazis used Little Red Riding Hood as a symbol of the German people being saved from the Jewish wolf. 

Dragonwings by Laurence Yep

Banned or challenged for “being Anti-Christian and including profanity and violence and depicting drug and alcohol use in a positive light.”


Disclosure: This blog is a member of affiliate programs. If you buy through links on this site, it will receive a small commission. Don’t worry…we only link books that we really love!

Unite Against Book Bans

A national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. Take action and defend the right to read for all Americans.


Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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