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John Oliver and ‘Captain Underpants’ Are the Top of the Most Challenged Books of 2018

Let the book burning begin.


Captain Underpants, was just named one of the American Library Association’s most challenged books of 2018, along with 10 other controversial reads, including John Oliver’s A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.

Every year, the ALA publishes a list of the books that received the most “challenges,” which are documented requests to remove that title from a school or library. While there were 483 books banned or challenged in 2018, the ALA notes on its website that 82 to 97 percent of challenges aren’t ever reported.

Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series came in third because, according to the ALA, “it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple.”

And it isn’t the first time Captain Underpants has come under fire. In 2012, it surpassed Fifty Shades of Grey as the most banned book.

The potty humor novel was preceded by A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, Oliver’s controversial parody that tells the story of Mike Pence’s gay rabbit. The ALA says it was challenged for “political and religious viewpoints.” And Alex Gino’s George, about a transgender girl, came in at number one for “describing male anatomy” and “creating confusion.”

The full “Top Ten Most Challenged Books” list is as follows:

  • George by Alex Gino
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
  • Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan