10 Surprising Facts about Books in America

I have compiled a list of interesting facts about literature and literacy in America that will help you dominate on Trivia Night!


The most challenged book from 2001–2013 is the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey.


53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally “almost every day,” while only 20% of 8th graders could say the same.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has been challenged for the past seven decades, the same amount of time it’s been in publication.

mom reading

American mothers are more likely than fathers to read to their children every day (55% vs. 45%).


There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S. – a total of 16,766 branches.


The earliest recorded use of ‘wicked’ to mean ‘cool, good’ is from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald’s first novel also provides us with the first known uses of the words ‘T-shirt’ and ‘daiquiri.’


Americans spend over 18 times as much money on home video games ($18.6 billion) as they do on school library materials for their children ($1 billion).


The American Library Association (ALA) has declared that the Harry Potter Books as a whole, are the most challenged books of the 21st century. The most popular challenge is that they deal with the occult.


Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.

john steinbeck

John Steinbeck’s puppy, Toby, was left alone one evening and ate the original manuscript for “Of Mice and Men.” Steinbeck wrote to his agent that, “I was pretty mad, but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically.”


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