Which books challenged in Canada sell the most?

This week is Freedom to Read Week (FtRW) in Canada. Every year around this time, Canadians are encouraged to "think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom", and one of the ways to do that is by reading from a wide range of books and magazines that cover every topic under the sun. If you want to find out how you can get involved this week, go to the Freedom to Read Week website and look at the events happening in your area or their suggestions for ways to get involved.

We're participating in FtRW by finding out which challenged books sell the most copies in Canada. Using the list of works that have been challenged in Canada assembled by FtRW, we found all the editions of each book with sales in Canada since 2005 (the year SalesData started gathering sales information in the Canadian market) and looked up all the combined sales for those titles to generate a ranked list of the top 20 titles in the English-language print trade market.

One caveat: The challenged works list named the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and the Goosebumps and Fear Street series by R. L. Stine, but we didn't gather sales for any of those books, only for individual titles on the challenged works list.

Here are the top 20 bestselling books that have been challenged in Canada.

And now, on to the top 20 bestselling challenged works:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 🇨🇦

  3. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

  4. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

  5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  6. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 

  7. Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille

  8. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

  9. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

  10. Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker 🇨🇦

  11. Mistress of the Game by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe

  12. Different Seasons by Stephen King

  13. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler 🇨🇦

  14. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

  15. The Wars by Timothy Findley 🇨🇦

  16. Tintin in America by Hergé

  17. And Tango Makes Three written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole

  18. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro 🇨🇦

  19. Close Range by Annie Proulx

  20. When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid 🇨🇦

Of the top 20 titles, 12 are adult Fiction titles, six are categorized as Juvenile Fiction or Young Adult Fiction, and there are one each in the Juvenile Non-Fiction and adult Biography & Autobiography categories.

If you want to know what these books were challenged for, look them up on Freedom to Read's challenged works list to find out. And then, if you're like us, go forth and read away. Perhaps you've already read some of these. Many of them are bestselling classics, after all.