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Raising Awareness: Books That Have Been Banned, From Picture Books to YA Novels

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, we are providing you with a list of picture books, middle grade fiction books, and YA novels that have been banned from schools and libraries. The pool was generated from various online sources that have been integrated to give a more comprehensive list of these banned books. The books are alphabetically arranged. Please note that not all books in this list are provided with the year that it was banned.

Picture Books

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (2010)
Written by: Bill Martin, Jr.
This book was banned because: The Texas State Board of Education confused its author with Bill Martin, author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation. (Oops.)

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Five Chinese Brothers, The
Written by: Claire Hutchet Bishop
This book was banned because: It was deemed too violent.

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Fragile Flag, The
Written by: Jane Langton
This book was banned because: It “portrays the U.S. government as lacking in intelligence and responsibility.”

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Giving Tree, The (1988)
Written by: Shel Silverstein
This book was banned because: It was considered “sexist” by a Colorado public library, and several schools claimed that it “criminalized the foresting agency.”

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Green Eggs and Ham (1965-1991)
Written by: Dr. Seuss
This book was banned because: It 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.

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In the Night Kitchen
Written by: Maurice Sendak
This book was banned because: The little boy did not have any clothes on and it pictured his private area.

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James and the Giant Peach (1999)
Written by: Roald Dahl
This book was banned because: It included the word “ass.”

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Light in the Attic, A
Written by: Shel Silverstein
This book was banned because: It “encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.”

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Lorax, The (1989)
Written by: Dr. Seuss
This book was banned because: A California school district claimed that it “criminalized the foresting industry” and would thus persuade children against logging.

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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Written by: William Steig
This book was banned because: The depiction of the characters as animals, particularly the police as pigs, apparently upset a lot of people.

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Where the Sidewalk Ends
Written by: Shel Silverstein
This book was banned because: It “promotes cannibalism.”

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Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
Written by: Maurice Sendak
This book was banned because: It “promotes witchcraft and supernatural events,” according to some institutions. It was banned in most southern states in America immediately after the book was published. (Harsh.)

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Where’s Waldo? (1987)
Written by: Martin Handford
This book was banned because: It originally showcased a topless beachgoer in one of its pages. (The book was later reprinted.)

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Winnie-the-Pooh (2006)
Written by: A.A. Milne
This book was banned because: Talking animals are generally considered an “insult to god.” Some institutions in Turkey and the UK claimed that the character of Piglet was offensive to the Muslims; others claimed that the book revolves around Nazism.

Middle Grade Fiction 

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Alice in Wonderland (1900)
Written by: Lewis Carroll
This book was banned because: Some classrooms in New Hampshire claimed that there were references to sexual fantasies and masturbation. In the 1960s, thousands of institutions feared that it would promote drug use to children.

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Bridge to Terabithia (1996)
Written by: Katherine Paterson
This book was banned because: It uses the phrases “Oh Lord” and “Lord.” Several classrooms in Pennsylvania banned it because of “profanity, disrespect for adults, and an elaborate fantasy world that might lead to confusion.” (Oh Lord, indeed.)

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Captain Underpants
Written by: Dav Pilkey
This book was banned because: The book contained diaper and poo themed superheroes. (It was more ‘challenged’ than banned.)

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1988)
Written by: Roald Dahl
This book was banned because: It embraced a “poor philosophy of life,” according to a Colorado library. 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.

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Charlotte’s Web (2006)
Written by: E.B. White
This book was banned because: Talking animals are an “insult to god,” and so it was banned in Kansas. (Sounds familiar? That’s because it was banned in the same year as Winnie-the-Pooh.)

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Harriet the Spy (1983)
Written by: Louise Fitzhugh
This book was banned because: Several schools claimed it to be a “bad example for children” and for “teaching children to lie, spy, talk back, and curse.”

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Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The (1928)
Written by: L. Frank Baum
This book was banned because: According to all public libraries in Chicago, the book has “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.”

Young Adult Novels

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The (1885)
Written by: Mark Twain
This book was banned because: The book frequently uses the word “nigger,” has been judged as being “racially insensitive,” “oppressive,” and that it “perpetuates racism.”

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Catcher in the Rye, The
Written by: J.D. Salinger
This book was banned because: Holden, the character in the book, engages in immoral behavior and for curse words used in the book. It was frequently removed from classrooms and school libraries because it is “unacceptable,” “obscene,” “blasphemous,” “negative,” “foul,” “filthy,” and “undermines morality.” (Ironically, in the story, Holden always thought “people never notice anything.”)

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Diary of a Young Girl, The (2010)
Written by: Anne Frank
This book was banned because: It was “too depressing,” claimed by several schools in the United States. A school in Virginia banned the 50th Anniversary Definitive Edition because of its “sexual content and homosexual themes.” Most recently, in May 2013, a Michigan mom tried to get the book banned due to its “pornographic tendencies.”

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Giver, The
Written by: Lois Lowry
This book was banned because: It depicts “the degradation of motherhood and adolescence.”

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Hatchet
Written by: Gary Paulsen
This book was banned because: “The descriptions of injuries and trauma were too well written,” according to naysayers.

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Lord of the Flies
Written by: William Golding
This book was banned because: It contains violence and supposed racism.

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Speak
Written by: Laurie Halse Anderson
This book was banned because: The book contains “sexuality, situations of suicidal thoughts, and gritty teenage situations.”

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Watership Down
Written by: Richard Adams
This book was banned because: The conflict of the story and brutal realism of the book are among the reasons why it has been banned time and time again.

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Wrinkle in Time, A
Written by: Madeleine L’Engle
This book was banned because: Many religious individuals felt that L’Engle was too passive in her inclusion of Christian imagery. A foundation in Iowa claimed that the book had satanic themes.

Did You Know That…

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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Tenth Edition, was banned in 2010 in several classrooms in California because it included the definition for “oral sex.”

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

You may also visit these websites for additional book titles that have been banned and/or challenged over the years:

  1. American Library Association (ALA)
  2. Banned Books Week
  3. Wikipedia listing
Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

 

Online Sources:

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

About Fats Suela

Cloud chaser. Sky walker. Tale weaver. Smile painter. Dream believer. Heart stealer. Book gatherer. Star-child of the universe.

6 comments on “Raising Awareness: Books That Have Been Banned, From Picture Books to YA Novels

  1. Wow! Such a comprehensive list, beautiful! :)

    • Thank you, lovely!! :) I wanted to include more but there were just a bunch more adult novels so I decided to just stick to this list.

  2. Geeze! I can’t believe how offended people get! I guess my book could get banned because it has aliens in it. I have an idea – if you don’t like it – don’t read it but don’t make others not read it!
    PS I read a lot of these books! :D

    • Hi Erik! I know, huh? Isn’t it a funny thing? I think people need to be more open-minded. If adults aren’t too sure about a particular picture book, I think it would better if they read it with their children together. Might help clear some issues, don’t you think?

  3. Good to see the picture books on the list too, Fats. Always interesting to hear about the other side. Thanks for putting it all together!

    • Hi Linda! There were a lot more on the list, especially on the ALA website. But I figured readers have the right to know that even picture books get banned, too, for the silliest of reasons, if anything. Thanks so much, Linda!! :)

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