OIFC Releases Annual Report on Challenges to Intellectual Freedom

The Oregon Intellectual Freedom Clearinghouse (OIFC) recently released its annual report for 2020 detailing all the reported challenges to intellectual freedom from Oregon libraries and schools. The OIFC reports that the number of challenges has gone down this year, but that it’s most likely due to closures because of COVID-19. This year’s list, which spans from July 1, 2019—June 30, 2020, contained several graphic novels and illustrated books, some that have been challenged in the past.

The full report for 2020 can be viewed here. In addition to compiling its annual report with participating schools and libraries, the OIFC also provides resources for librarians including how to prepare for challenges and how to address current challenges. For a quick look at some of the books that were challenged in 2020, see below.

Black Widow: The Name of the Rose by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuña

Natasha Romanoff is the Black Widow, longtime Avengers and a spy for even longer. But now someone has tried to kill Natasha…and almost succeeded. Injured gravely, almost beyond her ability to recover, Black Widow sets out to find her attacker.

Challenged for — Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Violence

The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly

A is for Always, that’s where we embark . . .

Two children, treasure map in hand, and their pet gazelle sneak past their father, out of their house, and into a world beneath the city, where monsters and pirates roam.

Will they find the treasure? Will they make it out alive?

Challenged for — Violence

George by Alex Gino

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Challenged for — LGBTQIA+

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth

A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the “facts of life” or “the birds and the bees,” Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.

Challenged for — Gender Roles, LGBTQIA+, Sex Education