Attempts to ban books in the United States have risen to their highest level in 2021 since the American Library Association began tracking book problems 20 years ago, the organization said Monday.

Most of the oriented books were authored or about blacks and LGBTQ, the association noted.

Book challenges are an eternal problem at school board and library meetings. But recently, efforts caused by the country’s highly polarized political environment have intensified on social media, where lists of books that some consider unsuitable for children are spreading rapidly and widely.

Some conservative politicians have taken on the challenge of certain titles, viewing them as a matter of parental choice and parental rights. However, those who oppose the effort say the book ban violates the rights of parents and children who want the titles available.

“What we are seeing now is an unprecedented campaign to remove books from school libraries as well as public libraries that deal with the lives and experiences of people from marginalized communities,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s office. for intellectual freedom. “We are watching organized groups go to school boards and library boards and demand de facto censorship of these books to conform to their moral or political views.”

The Library Association said it had 729 problems last year with library, school and university materials, as well as research databases and e-book platforms. Each challenge may contain multiple titles, and the association tracked 1,597 individual books that were challenged or removed.

The count is based on voluntary reports from educators and librarians, as well as media reports, the association noted, and is not exhaustive.

Librarians and freedom of speech advocates have also noticed a rise in harsh tactics, including loud political pressure on some books and legal threats against librarians responsible for selecting reading materials, and even against the books themselves.

Virginia Gov. Yangkin, a Republican, conducted an election campaign featuring a mother who did not want Tony Morrison’s “Beloved” to be part of her son’s school curriculum. Another Republican, Henry McMaster, governor of South Carolina, has asked to investigate what he called “obscene and pornographic” material in state public schools, including Mai Cobabe’s book Gender Queer: Memoirs, which the Library Association said last year. was the most frequently challenged book in the country.

The Wyoming District Attorney’s Office has considered criminal charges against library staff for possession of books such as “This Book for Gays” and “Sex is a Funny Word.” A member of the school board in Flagler County, Florida, has filed a complaint with the sheriff’s department for a book called “All Boys Are Not Blue.”

Law enforcement officers determined that there were no grounds to investigate the criminal case in either case. But librarians say the mere specter of having to defend themselves against accusations or endure such a public spectacle is likely to have a staggering effect, discouraging library staff from ordering some books.

According to the Library Association, we offer you 10 books of 2021, which are most often disputed.

1. “Gender Queer” by Mai KobabeIn these illustrated 2019 memoirs, Kobabe, who is not binary, explored issues related to sexuality and gender identity, as well as the process of identifying gender inconsistencies. Most of the objections to the book, which was confiscated from school and public libraries across the country, point to brief references to masturbation and illustrations based on the erotic image of an elderly man and a boy depicted on a Greek urn. But Kobabe and others note that many issues stem from open discussion in memoirs of gender fluency.

2. “The Boy on the Lawn” by Jonathan EvisonEvison’s 2018 novel is about a young Mexican American who works as a landscape designer and comes to terms with his sexual identity. Although the novel was written for adults, the novel found an audience among teenagers and won the Alex Prize, a prize awarded by the Young Adult Library Services Association to books written for adults that appeal to young people. Critics have grabbed a scene describing sexual contact between the two boys.

Evison said he received death threats as a result of campaigns to ban his book.

3. “All Boys Are Not Blue,” by George M. JohnsonJohnson’s memoirs have earned vivid reviews for his steadfast and sometimes rich view of the challenges and joys of growing up black and eccentric. The book, which includes scenes depicting oral and anal sex and sexual violence, has been challenged in school libraries across the country.

4. “Out of the Dark” by Ashley Hope PerezIn the heart of Texas in the 1930s “Out of the Dark” is a novel between a Mexican American teenage girl and a black teenage boy. The novel has been widely challenged, including by one of the parents of Lake Travis Independent School District in Austin, who complained about an excerpt where teenage boys make explicit sexual and racist comments about an American Mexican girl. Perez argues that her novel is about racism and sexual violence because it is a problem that young people face in their lives.

5. “The Hate U Give”, Angie ThomasAt the center of Thomas’ debut novel is a black teenage girl whose girlfriend was shot dead by a police officer during a stop. A bestseller, he helped shatter talk of police violence, but has been challenged across the country for what critics call profanity, violence and an “anti-police” program.

“There’s speculation that this is an anti-police book, and the fact is anti-police brutality,” Thomas said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

6. “Absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian,” Sherman AlexiBased on the author’s own experience, this book for young adults tells the story of a boy from the Spokane Indian Reservation who attends an all-white school where the only other Native American is a school mascot. In 2007, he received the National Book Award in the category “Youth Literature”.

The Library Association said it was targeted for the ban because of sexual references, obscene language and the use of derogatory terms.

7. “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl,” by Jesse AndrewsA novel about an awkward boy named Greg who hopes to go through high school while remaining invisible; his friend the count; and a girl who has cancer, with whom Greg’s mom pushes him to make friends. A New York Times bestseller, it was a film written by Andrews and directed by Alphonse Gomez-Rehan.

The book was challenged because it was considered degrading to women and sexually explicit.

8. “The Bluest Eye,” by Tony MorrisonPublished in 1970, Morrison’s debut novel is considered a canonical work of American fiction. Narrated by a black girl from Ohio, the book tells the story of a tragic heroine who believes she is ugly and prays for blue eyes.

The book was challenged because it depicts sexual abuse of children and because it was considered a sexual species.

9. “This book is gay,” Juneau DawsonThis journalistic study is growing as LGBTQ. This title touches on many issues including sex, politics and stereotypes. The book was challenged over LGBTQ materials and topics, as well as for “providing sex education,” the library association said.

10. “Beyond Magenta”, Susan KuklinThis book describes the lives of six transgender or gender-neutral teenagers, mostly in their own words. The book was challenged because of its LGBTQ content and because it was considered sexually explicit, the association noted.

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