The list of banned books is growing in the U.S. According to a report from Gitnux, between 2021 and 2022, the number of banned books quadrupled with 1,651 books added to the list and 681 books under consideration or attempted to be banned. The biggest targets are books that contain content related to the LGBTQIA+ community. 

According to PEN American, from July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans recorded 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles.

However, this is not the only kind of book that has been targeted in recent years. A survey found that 1,500 books have been banned in 86 school districts in 26 states since 2019. Of these, 41 percent of the titles feature protagonists or characters of color, 22 percent address race and racism, 16 percent are history books or biographies, and 9 percent have themes related to rights and activism.

Among the 1,648 unique banned book titles in the Index are:

● 674 banned book titles explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ+.

● 659 banned book titles contain protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color.

● 338 banned book titles directly address issues of race and racism.

● 357 banned book titles contain sexual content of varying kinds, including novels with some level of description of sexual experiences of teenagers, stories about teen pregnancy, sexual assault and abortion as well as informational books about puberty, sex, or relationships.

● 161 banned book titles have themes related to rights and activism.

● 141 banned book titles are either biography, autobiography, or memoir.

● 64 banned book titles include characters and stories that reflect religious minorities, such as Jewish, Muslim and other faith traditions.

Experts believe that book banning can have adverse effects, such as limiting knowledge and reducing access to diverse stories and ideas. It is also believed that book bans create gaps in knowledge and create schools that are under-resourced. 

Many parents and advocates have stepped up to reduce the number of banned books. Approximately 42 percent of book challenges are initiated by parents, while 29 percent of challenges come from library staff and board members.