Ohio’s Most Infamous Challenged and Banned Books

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Books open a world of wonder and learning for readers, especially young ones. But there has been a great deal of recent controversy in some states about whether certain books should be banned or should not be allowed for readers of certain ages.

World Book Day is April 23. In celebration, BetOhio.com took a break from reviewing Ohio sports betting apps to look at which banned or challenged books are favorites among Ohio residents. From a list of the top 13 most banned and challenged books according to the American Library Association, we used Google Trends to see how often those books were searched in Ohio. The search period was between March 9 and April 9, 2024.

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Ohio’s Most Popular Banned Books

Rank, Book Author Search Interest Score
1. A Court of Mist and Fury Sarah J. Maas 36
2. Crank Ellen Hopkins 14
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Sherman Alexie 10
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky 8
5. This Book is Gay Juno Dawson 6
6. Gender Queer Maia Kobabe 5
7. Flamer Mike Curato 4
8. Looking for Alaska John Green 3
9. The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison 2
10. All Boys Aren’t Blue George M. Johnson 1

These titles were among the 13 books on a list compiled by the American Library Association, from reports filed with the organization’s Office For Intellectual Freedom. Those titles were deemed to be among the 13 “most challenged books of 2022,” and we chose the top 10 in Ohio based on search interest. Most of the books on the list have been challenged because of sexual content or content related to LGBTQIA+ themes.

Top Banned And Challenged Books In Ohio

At the top of our list is “A Court of Mist and Fury,” a 2016 work by Sarah J. Maas. That book had a search interest score in Ohio of 36, by far the highest of any book on the ALA list of banned or challenged books. It’s a sequel to the Maas novel “A Court of Thorns and Roses” and has been challenged as inappropriate for young readers because of adult content.

In second place is “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins, which has a search interest score of 14. The book, released in 2004, is loosely based on the drug addiction suffered by Hopkins’ daughter in real life. It is assigned reading for some students and drug court programs; however, its depictions of drug use (plus sexual content) have made the book a target for those trying to ban or limit it.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (10 search interest score) comes in third. This tale by Sherman Alexie, released in 2007, is about a Native American teenager named Junior, who aspires to be a cartoonist. Some have targeted the book for profanity and explicit content.

Books by a diverse array of authors — including Stephen Chbosky, Maia Kobabe, George M. Johnson, Juno Dawson and Ohio’s own Toni Morrison — also wound up on the list of most banned or challenged books.

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Ohio native Jim Tomlin has 30 years of experience in journalism, mostly in sports. He lends his expertise to BetOhio.com as a writer and editor after previous experience at the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturday Down South and Saturday Tradition.

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