I was surprised at this banned book list. Some of these didn’t make sense to me.
1. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford
Why: The book was banned and then reprinted because it originally showcased a topless beachgoer (not like anyone could find her if they tried, though).
2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Why: Everyone’s favorite childhood book was banned from a public library in Colorado because it was considered “sexist.” It was also challenged by several schools because it “criminalized the foresting agency.”
3. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
Why: Talking animals are somehow considered an “insult to god,” resulting in this book’s banning throughout random parts of the United States. Several institutions in Turkey and the UK have also banned the book, claiming that the character of Piglet is offensive to Muslims. Other institutions claim that the book revolves around Nazism.
4. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Why: The book was banned from an elementary School in Texas because it included the word “ass.”
5. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Why: The book was banned from several schools for being “a bad example for children.” It was also challenged for teaching “children to lie, spy, talk back, and curse.”
6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Why: Forget anti-semitism; the 50th Anniversary “Definitive Edition’” was insteadbanned by a Virginia school because of its “sexual content and homosexual themes.” Additionally, the book was previously banned by several schools in the United States because it was “too depressing.” Most recently, in May of 2013, a Michigan mom tried to get the book banned due to its “pornographic tendencies.”
7. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Why: The book was banned from several classrooms in Pennsylvania on accounts of “profanity, disrespect for adults, and an elaborate fantasy world that might lead to confusion.” The book has also been banned by other schools for its use of the phrases “Oh Lord” and “Lord.”
8. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Why: Similar to Winnie-the-Pooh, this book was banned in Kansas because talking animals are considered an “insult to god.”
9. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Why: Apparently there are references to sexual fantasies and masturbation in this book, resulting in its ban from classrooms in New Hampshire. Since this original banning, the book has been challenged by thousands of other institutions, most famously in the 1960s in fear that it would promote drug use to children.
10. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Why: The book was primarily banned in most southern states immediately following its publication, and it has since been challenged due to the fact that it promotes “witchcraft and supernatural events.”
11. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Why: A California school district banned the book and claimed that it “criminalized the foresting industry” and would thus persuade children against logging.
12. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
When: “Until as recently as 1991”
Why: Remember that time when Sam I Am tried to seduce his friend? Me neither. But the book was banned in California on accounts of “homosexual seduction.” It was also banned in China for “early Marxism” from 1965 until Dr. Seuss’ death in 1991.
13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Why: A Colorado library banned the book because it embraced a “poor philosophy of life.” Additionally, since its publication in 1964, the book was under fire for comparing the Oompa Loompas to Africans. The characters’ descriptions were later changed in an edited version in 1988.
14. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Why: All public libraries in Chicago banned the book because of its “ungodly” influence “for depicting women in strong leadership roles.” In 1957, the Detroit Public Library banned the book for having “no value for children of today.”
15. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Why: The Texas State Board of Education briefly banned this picture book after confusing its author, Bill Martin, Jr., with philosopher Bill Martin, author of ‘Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.’
BONUS: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Why: The 10th edition was banned in several classrooms in California because it included the definition for “oral sex.”