With thousands of books challenged and banned in America every year, it’s enlightening to understand why some books get banned in the first place.
(Find out how You Can Help Stop or Overturn Banned Books in your community.)
Most children’s books are banned because of parental disapproval of books that include themes related to sexual content, language, violence, and the promotion of anti-traditional values. We examine these banned books that have been attacked for other, less obvious reasons:
“Married Life” by Andrew Riker, et al.
Banned in 1982 in Jefferson County, KY.
The verdict: “Married Life,” “pushed women’s lib which is very degrading to women and will destroy the traditional family.”
“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
Banned in 1989 in Shelby County, TN.
The verdict: Steinbeck “is known to have had an anti-business attitude.”
“Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings” by D.T. Suzuki
Banned in 1987 in Michigan.
The verdict: “Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings,” “detailed the teachings of the religion of Buddhism in such a way that the reader could very likely embrace its teachings and choose this as his religion.”
“Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White
Banned in 2006 in Kansas.
The verdict: Parents argued that “humans are the highest level of God’s creation and are the only creatures that can communicate vocally. Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God.”
“A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein
Banned in 1985 in Beloit, WI.
The verdict: “A Light in the Attic” “encouraged children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.”
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Banned in 1996 in Lindale, TX.
The verdict: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a novel about the unfairness of racism and the dignity of fighting against injustice, “conflicted with the values of the community.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Banned in 2010 in California.
The verdict: A parent protested that the book defined the term “oral sex.”
“Forever” by Judy Blume
Banned in 1982 in Missouri.
The verdict: “Forever” “promoted the stranglehold of humanism on life in America.”
“The Stupids Die” by Harry Allard
Banned in 1998 in Michigan.
The verdict: Children should not refer to anyone as “stupid.”
15 Books Banned for the Most Absurd Reasons Ever. (2013, August 30). Retrieved from buzzfeed.com
Doyle, R. (2010). Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read. Chicago: American Library Association. Sims, C. (2010, September 30). Banned Books Week: The 7 Most Ridiculous Reasons for Banning Books 2009-2010. Retrieved from comicsalliance.com