Banned Books Week and Most Challenged Authors
The American Library Association observes Banned Books Week during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Discover more information about Banned Books Week, including activities, events, and additional resources in “Banned and Challenged Books” on ala.org.
The American Library Association defines a challenge to a book as “a formal written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.” The ALA states that hundreds of challenges are reported every year, but hundreds more go unreported. And the challenges are increasing daily.
Find more lists and resources regarding banned and challenged books on the ALA website here.
Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century
Please note that the most frequently challenged authors may not appear in the list of most frequently challenged books. For example, if every one of Judy Blume’s books was challenged–but only once–not one of her books would make the top 10 list, but she herself would make the most challenged author list. Five of Judy Blume’s books are on the list of The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990 to 1999: Forever (7), Blubber (30), Deenie (42), Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (60), and Tiger Eyes (89).
2012: Dav Pilkey, Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, E.L. James, Ellen Hopkins, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Patricia Polacco, John Green, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alvin Schwartz, Dagberto Glib
2011: Lauren Myracle, Kim Dong Hwa, Chris Crutcher, Carolyn Mackler, Robert Greene, Sonya Sones, Dori Hillestead Butler, Sherman Alexie, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Harper Lee, Eric Jerome Dickey, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Dav Pilkey, Cecily von Ziegesar
2010: Ellen Hopkins, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Sonya Sones, Judy Blume, Ann Brasheres, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Natasha Friend
2009: Lauren Myracle, Alex Sanchez, P.C. Cast, Robert Cormier, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Stephen Chbosky, Chris Crutcher, Ellen Hopkins, Richelle Mead, John Steinbeck
2008: Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Philip Pullman, Lauren Myracle, Jim Pipe, Alvin Schwartz, Chris Crutcher, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Rudolfo Anaya, Stephen Chbosky, Cecily Von Ziegesar
2007: Robert Cormier, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, Philip Pullman, Kevin Henkes, Lois Lowry, Chris Crutcher, Lauren Myracle, Joann Sfar
2006: Chris Crutcher, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Toni Morrison, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Cecily von Ziegesar, Carolyn Mackler, Alvin Schwartz, Stephen Chbosky, Alex Sanchez, Judy Blume
2005: Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, Chris Crutcher, Robie Harris, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Toni Morrison, J. D. Salinger, Lois Lowry, Marilyn Reynolds, and Sonya Sones.
2004: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Robert Cormier, Judy Blume, Toni Morrison, Chris Lynch, Barbara Park, Gary Paulsen, Dav Pilkey, Maurice Sendak, and Sonya Sones.
2003: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, J. K. Rowling, Robert Cormier, Judy Blume, Katherine Paterson, John Steinbeck, Walter Dean Myers, Robie Harris, Stephen King, and Louise Rennison.
2002: J.K. Rowling, Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Stephen King, Lois Duncan, S.E. Hinton, Alvin Schwartz, Maya Angelou, Roald Dahl, and Toni Morrison.
2001: J. K. Rowling, Robert Cormier, John Steinbeck, Judy Blume, Maya Angelou, Robie Harris, Gary Paulsen, Walter Dean Myers, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and Bette Greene.
Editor’s Note: This list reflects the most up-to-date version on the ALA website as of February 2022.