The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has released its 2020 Banned & Challenged Books list and 2020 Field Report. Each year, since 1990, the ALA has documented the attempts across the United States to remove books from libraries and schools. In addition to reporting on banned and challenged books, the 2020 Field Report also tracks data of other challenged resources including, films, meeting rooms, displays and artwork, and in one case, an editorial cartoon.
The field report points out that “challenges to books and other resources reveal our society’s concerns and issues.” While 2020 continued to see many LGBTQ+ books under attack, there was an increase in challenges to books that address racism and share the stories of people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Often there is an attempt by community members to remove and make invisible what they don’t personally like. ALA, echoing the theme of Banned Books Week (Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us), reminds us, “Censorship creates barriers, drawing a divisive line between ‘us’ and ‘them’ when we should be celebrating a shared commitment to our communities and honoring each person’s unique identity.”
In total, 156 challenges targeted 273 books in 2020. Compared to a total of 377 challenges reported in 2019, we did see a decrease last year. It is no surprise that several graphic novels made it onto the list this year; CBLDF members will likely recognize many of them as titles we’ve defended in the past.
Below is a list of the graphic novels included on the ALA 2020 Banned & Challenged Book list.
Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Ari Folman & David Polonsky
Bass Reeves: Tales of the Talented Tenth by Joel Christian Gill
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero & Bre Indigo
Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran
Below are more challenged and banned books from the list worth mentioning. The books featured below are not comics but feature characters from comics/manga or have graphic novel adaptations.
Anime From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle by Susan Napier
Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
Monster by Walter Dean Myers*
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson*
Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland*
*Graphic novel version of the challenged book.