The American Library Association released its list of the most challenged and banned books of 2019, with eight of the 10 titles having drawn objections for LGBTQ+ content.
Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, at No. 7 on the list, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, at No. 9, are the only two entries on the list that weren’t cited by would-be book banners because they deal with LGBTQ+ themes. Atwood’s novel drew challenges for “vulgarity and sexual overtones,” while Rowling’s books raised objections for its themes of magic and witchcraft.
The No. 1 most challenged book of 2019 was Alex Gino’s George, which also topped last year’s list. The middle-grade novel tells the story of a fourth-grader who realizes that she’s not a boy, the gender she was assigned at birth, but rather a transgender girl.
Other books that address transgender themes that made the list include Susan Kuklin’s Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out at No. 2 and Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings’ I Am Jazzat No. 6.
The No. 3 entry on the list is Jill Twiss’ Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a parody of Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President by Vice President Pence’s daughter, Charlotte. Twiss’ book portrays the titular rabbit, Mike Pence’s real-life pet, as gay.
The other most challenged books of the year, all drawing objections for LGBTQ+ themes, are Cory Silverberg’s Sex Is a Funny Word, Daniel Haack’s Prince and Knight, Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, and Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson’s And Tango Makes Three.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.