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These Are the Most Banned Picture Books from 2021-2022

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PEN America tallied the number of books banned in the U.S. during the 2021-2022 school year and counted 1,648 titles. Some of the titles were banned in more than one location, resulting in more than 2,500 bans.

Most of the books banned were adult or young adult titles, but some children’s books were banned as well. Of the 1,000+ total titles banned, 317 were picture books.

Among the banned picture books are nonfiction titles that cover the civil rights movement and gay pride. There are also less serious books centered around babies or animals. Regardless of their focus, though, most of them have a commonality: their main characters are people of color or part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Below are the most banned picture books of 2021-2022, ranked according to how often they were banned:

1st (tied) – 5 Bans

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and Steve Salerno

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag cover

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas

 And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole

2nd – 4 Bans

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

3rd (tie) – 3 Bans

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Everywhere Babie by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee

4th (tie)- 2 Bans

Worm Loves Worm by J J Austrian and Mike Curato

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita

We March by Shane W. Evans

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac

They, She, He Easy as ABC by Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Sg

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

The Family Book by Todd Parr

cover of Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o and Vashti Harrison

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B Schiffer and Holly Clifton-Brown

Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman and Maria Mola

Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations by Kelly Starling Lyons and Keith Mallett

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.