The American Library Association kicked off National Library Week 2024 with the release of its annual top 10 list of most challenged books, which comes amid another record year of attempted book bans and an ongoing organized political attack on the freedom to read. Once again, Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer topped the list of most challenged books, a list that is again dominated by stories by and about LGBTQ+ persons and people of color, voices that ALA officials say “censors want to silence.”

“Each challenge, each demand to censor these books is an attack on our freedom to read, our right to live the life we choose, and an attack on libraries as community institutions that reflect the rich diversity of our nation,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, in a statement. “When we tolerate censorship, we risk losing all of this.”

The report comes during National Library Week, which is running April 7-13, and also included the release of the ALA’s annual State of America's Libraries report, which highlights the broader work of libraries and librarians in their communities—although the challenge to the freedom to read once again stands out.

More than three years into an historic surge in attempted book bans, the organized political attack on libraries and the freedom to read continue to grow. As first reported last month, the number of unique titles targeted for censorship in 2023 surpassed 4,200—up by an astounding 65% over 2022.

In the report, Caldwell-Stone puts the ongoing surge in challenges in perspective. “To understand how extraordinary this figure is, we can look at the average number of unique book titles challenged between 2001 through 2020. During that time, the average number of unique book titles targeted for censorship each year was 273,” she writes. “The highest recorded number of unique titles challenged during this period was 390 in one year. In that entire two-decade span, only 3,637 unique titles were challenged by censors—more than 600 fewer titles than in 2023 alone.”

While attempts to ban books continue to rise, recent months have offered a glimmer of hope, with a number of legal victories supporting the freedom to read, a point Caldwell-Stone also notes in the State of America's Libraries report.

"These legal victories are important," she writes. "as it is clear that these partisan attacks on librarians, readers, and the right to read may not end until the courts uphold the rule of law and make it plain to governments and elected officials that the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment bars censorship of library materials and discriminatory attacks on books and the persons who read them."

The Most Challenged Books of 2023

1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, for LGBTQIA+, and sexually explicit content.

2. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, for LGBTQIA+ and sexually explicit content.

3. This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson, for LGBTQIA+ and sexually explicit content.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, for LGBTQIA+, and sexually explicit content, rape, drugs, profanity.

5. Flamer by Mike Curato, for LGBTQIA+ and sexually explicit content.

6. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, for rape, incest, sexually explicit and EDI (equity, diversity, inclusion) content.

7. (Tie) Tricks by Ellen Hopkins, for LGBTQIA+ and sexually explicit content.

7. (Tie) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, for sexually explicit content, profanity.

9. Let’s Talk About It by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan, for LGBTQIA+ and sexually explicit content.

10. Sold by Patricia McCormick, for sexually explicit content, rape.

National Library Week, runs through April 13, and includes National Library Workers Day today, April 9; National Library Outreach Day (formerly National Bookmobile Day) Wednesday on April 10: and Take Action for Libraries Day on Thursday, April 11.