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PEN America Index of School Book Bans – 2021-2022

PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans provides a comprehensive list of books banned in the 2021-2022 school year.

From July 2021 to June 2022, PEN America found 2,532 instances of individual books being banned, affecting 1,648 unique book titles. The bans occurred in 32 states, with Texas and Florida leading the nation, according to PEN America’s landmark 2022 Banned in the USA report. The 2021-2022 banned book list is a searchable index of each documented book ban in the school year. 

The Index lists instances where students’ access to books in school libraries and classrooms in the United States was restricted or diminished, for either limited or indefinite periods of time. Some of these bans have since been rescinded and some remain in place. More information about PEN America’s definition of school book bans can be found here.


index of school book bans – 2021-2022

Of the 1,648 titles on the banned book list in the 2021-2022 school year:

    • 41 percent explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ+ (this includes a specific subset of titles for transgender characters or stories—145 titles, or 9 percent);
    • 40 percent contain protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color;
    • 21 percent directly address issues of race and racism;
    • 22 percent 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.

Download the index

Read the full analysis in the Banned in the USA report

PEN America defines a school book ban as any action taken against a book based on its content and as a result of parent or community challenges, administrative decisions, or in response to direct or threatened action by lawmakers or other governmental officials, that leads to a previously accessible book being either completely removed from availability to students, or where access to a book is restricted or diminished. Read more in our Frequently Asked Questions.