Working Through the Banned

Image by Joshua Coleman/Unsplash

Over the past 90 days, there has been an increase in searches for “banned books,” “banned book list,” and “list of banned books.” These types of searches have also increased over the last year.

Trending book titles include The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

The interest in banned books can reflect the current political climate and increased censorship in America’s public schools. As more people become aware of this issue, they search for ways to combat it and find out which authors have been affected by censorship.

To better understand this phenomenon, a web site called “A Dime Saved” performed a study over the past 90-day period (February to May of 2023) to establish what authors and book consumers and readers were looking for. Popular searches included “banned books,” “banned book list,” and “list of banned books,” and analyzed the top books and authors those in the US also searched for.

While these topics have increased over the past 90 days, the rising interest in banned books on Google Trends can be observed over the last year.

Ann Frank was the trending search topic in relation to the term “banned books” in the US. Google Trends searches volume data to analyze to establish what authors and books consumers were looking for during the rise of banned books in the US during this period.

The trending searched authors include Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Judy Bloom & Jodi Picoult.

Here are the top trending US searches banned books during this 90-day period:

Anne Frank

1511-fold increase in searches

The diary of Anne Frank, who was murdered in the Holocaust, was removed from Florida and Texas public school libraries after parent complaints.

Rosa Parks

1439-fold increase in searches

Books about Rosa Parks were removed from a Pennsylvania School District after it was deemed too controversial.

Judy Blume

1239-fold increase in searches

Books by Judy Blume were banned in school districts in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

Jodi Picoult

1001-fold increase in searches

Books by Jodi Picoult were removed by shelves in Florida, including one story about the Holocaust.

Fahrenheit 451

974-fold increase in searches

The book about book burnings was removed from several schools because of its violent depictions.

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

566-fold increase in searches

This book was removed from Florida schools after it was found to be inappropriate for young children.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

468-fold increase in searches

This book was banned in Missouri schools for its depictions of violence but was reinstated after significant backlash.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

366-fold increase in searches

The Kite Runner was banned in Arizona and other states for its violent content.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

247-fold increase in searches

The classic novel was banned numerous times since it was published with critics calling it “full of lies” and “vulgar.”

Roald Dahl

241-fold increase in searches

Puffin Publishing, who published Roald Dahl’s books, rewrote significant chunks of the books to remove offensive language.

Reading is important,” says Robyn Goldfarb, founder of A Dime Saved, “Reading about different topics can expand our knowledge beyond what we personally experience in our lives so reading about uncomfortable topics or about events that took place to other people in different times can give us an understanding and realization beyond what we can gain in our personal lives.”

# Search Topic Percentage of Growth

1 Anne Frank 151,200%

2 Rosa Parks 143,950%

3 Judy Blume 123,900%

4 Jodi Picoult 100,100%

5 Fahrenheit 451 97,400%

6 This Book Is Gay 56,500%

7 The Bluest Eye 46,800%

8 The Kite Runner 36,550%

9 The Grapes of Wrath 24,650%

10 Roald Dahl 24,100%

11 Hop on Pop 21,300%

12 Beloved 17,050%

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