Light A Fire Under Your Reluctant Reader With These Banned Books
Usually, you’ll find banned children’s books because they aren’t considered age-appropriate. Still, other groups seek to find the slightest fault with any book. In honor of Banned Books Week, I’ve gathered some of the most ridiculous reasons for banning children’s books. Some books on this list are those that I’ve personally recommended and still do.
As an educator, I’m not a fan of banning books. Any child should have the right to choose their own reading material. I’m not one to stifle anyone’s desire to read. You may want to suggest one of these books to your reluctant reader. I’ve found that kids are more inclined to read a book after hearing it’s been banned. Who knew?
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Reason Banned: Violence
Who would hate Dr. Seuss? Apparently, parents in Toronto, Ontario. In 2014, they requested this book banned due to the fact that it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers”.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Reason Banned: A Bad Example for Children
This classic children’s book caused quite a stir when it was published back in the 1960s. The title character, Harriet M. Welsh, spied on people for no other reason than it was fun. According to critics, Harriet “saw too much, said too much. She even threw temper tantrums.” Critics felt that Harriet’s unapologetic behavior would be a bad influence on little minds.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Reason Banned: Criminalizing the logging industry
Another Dr. Seuss book made the list. When this book was published in 1971, environmentalism was a topic of much debate. The message in The Lorax encourages children to respect the environment. The logging industry, however, felt the book would turn kids against logging. They even proposed a rebuttal book talking about the importance of cutting down trees. In areas that relied heavily on the logging industry, this cute story was banned.
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Reason Banned: Feminism, Witchcraft, Lacking Value
The Wizard of Oz was initially banned in 1928 by the Chicago Public Library for “depicting women in strong leadership roles.” In the 1950s, Detroit Public Libraries removed the book for having “no value for children of today.” Critics even disliked “The Good Witch of the North”, stating that “good” witches were not possible.
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Mine
Reason Banned: Nudity, Religious Abomination
This classic children’s story has been around for years. It has merchandise, movies, even popular songs inspired by it. That doesn’t stop some groups from finding the poor bear inappropriate for children. Winnie the Pooh, along with other classics such as Charlotte’s Web and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, portray talking animals which is an “insult to God.” Winnie the Pooh also doesn’t wear pants and a half-naked bear is “wholly inappropriate for children.”
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Reason Banned: Violence/Sadism, Poor Philosophy on Life, Racism
Let’s start with the poor philosophy on life. Critics argue that Charlie is not a strong character. He is only good because he lacks negative qualities, and his life is quite depressing. He has no significant “noble qualities” that stand out. He’s just good because the other kids are so bad. Speaking of the other kids, critics have also stated that the “punishments” the children receive in the factory are too extreme, even sadistic.
Finally, the novel’s description of the Oompa Loompa has led some to believe that they are actually African pygmies. Dahl insists that the Oompa Loompa are made-up fantasy creatures. He did, however, agree to edit his descriptions of them for the 1988 edition.
The Junie B. Jones Series by Barbara Park
Reason Banned: Bad Grammar
Grammar Nazis rejoice. This funny series by Barbara Park was actually banned in some communities because the narrator (5-year-old) Junie B. Jones makes many grammatical errors throughout the story. They worried that children would get the wrong idea on the right way to talk. Don’t bother mentioning that Junie B. Jones talks no differently than your average 5-year-old. This series is actually fun to both listen to and read aloud.
For more inspiration, check out these Frequently Challenged Books. I was surprised to learn that many of my favorite books were challenged or banned. Are any banned children’s books your favorites? Let me know below.
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