ALA report: 80% of 2014’s challenged YA books feature diversity

The American Library Association (ALA) has released a report on the state of libraries. Overall, things seem to be looking up, with libraries’ roles changing to reflect modern society—serving multiple functions for local communities, etc., well beyond just “the place that houses books.”

Unfortunately, the same report notes that young adult books could still stand improvements in terms of diversity in content and authors. On top of that, the ALA’s reported 311 attempts by various groups in 2014 to have books removed from school and public libraries. The books objected to were on the grounds of “objectionable content,” but the ALA notes 80% of the top 10 most objected books represent diverse authors and subject matter.

The 10 most challenged young adult books in 2014

  1. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
  2. “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi
  3. “And Tango Makes Three,” Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  4. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
  5. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
  6. “Saga,” by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  7. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini
  8. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
  9. “A Stolen Life,” Jaycee Dugard
  10. “Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier

Note that some of the books above feature LGBT individuals or related subjects covered. Objecting to “depictions of bullying” (one objection raised by challengers) in “Part-Time Indian” is an odd one, given the current anti-bullying trend.

Finally, many of the above books have won various awards or been highly praised/popular, particularly “Persepolis.”

(Updated 1/5/17)

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