American Library Association releases list of books most frequently banned last year

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This week is known as Banned Books Week, which was founded to support "the freedom to seek and to express ideas." It also shows that some ideas face a lot more opposition than others.

Every year, the American Library Association makes a list of the books that receive the most challenges — in other words, the books people want to see pulled from library shelves.

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In 2001, nine of the top 10 most challenged books were on the banned book list because opponents said they had offensive language, sexually explicit passages or both.

The only one that didn't was Harry Potter. The series was challenged over its "religious viewpoint" — the only one of the top 10 to face that objection.

Fast forward to 2015, and five of the top 10 most challenged books faced opposition over their religious viewpoints. Librarians say it seems like people aren't taking issue with specific passages being inappropriate, but are against diverse themes like gender, sexuality and religion.

Top 10 books banned in 2015:

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American Library Association reveals top books banned in 2015
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American Library Association reveals top books banned in 2015

10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

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9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter

Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.

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8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson

Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

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7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel

Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).

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6. The Holy Bible

Reasons: Religious viewpoint.

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5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).

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4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin

Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).

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3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.

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1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

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2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James

Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).

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Four of last year's most challenged books dealt heavily with LGBTQ issues. The third and fourth slots on the list were occupied by "I Am Jazz" and "Beyond Magenta," two books about transgender teens. In terms of challenges, they ranked just behind "Fifty Shades of Grey."

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Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" and David Levithan's "Two Boys Kissing" deal largely with gay teenagers and made it to numbers seven and 10 on the list, respectively.

James LaRue, who runs the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, said the shift could be the waning white majority "lashing out to say, 'Can we just please make things the way that they used to be?'"

Though these books are challenged more than any other, the library association says it's usually able to keep them on library shelves.

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