Books Are Being Banned for Ridiculous Reasons
What are some of your favorite challenged children's books?
The most frequently challenged children’s books are also some of the most popular.
Although the actual number of American people who support book banning is low, the small number of people challenging literature can be very loud. More specifically, only twelve percent of Americans agree with banning books, with sixteen percent believing that public school libraries house inappropriate books. While some challenges occur for valid reasons, there are times when that is most certainly not the case. Here are a few famous novels that have been banned for ridiculous reasons.
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Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
First challenged at a school board meeting in Xenia, Ohio, in 1983, Harriet the Spy has been consistently banned for its encouragement of “bad behavior.” Unfortunately, much of the premise surrounding this famous children’s book revolves around . . . well, spying! In other words, the plot revolves around spying on others and lying. It’s also been criticized for Harriet’s “abrasive” and “impolite” behavior, making challengers believe the book is a bad influence on children.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The classic memoir depicting the life of an adolescent Jewish girl in the middle of World War II has been consistently banned in the U.S. Some of the most commonly cited reasons include “sexually offensive” passages along with “depressing” messages. There’s just one major problem with both of those points—Anne Frank was a real person, and the story within her journal truly happened. One cannot censor a true story, especially when the realities of what occurred during the Holocaust were indeed very depressing!
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The Lorax by Dr. Suess
Dr. Suess’s classic environmental fable has also been banned. In this case, its first challenge occurred in a California school in 1989 for depicting logging in a negative way. This led a group of loggers to sponsor and publish a book called The Truax, which educated children about the need for foresting. Even so, this children’s novel has also been consistently criticized for its portrayal of American consumerism. There’s always a lesson to be learned from the Once-ler, and it’s one that continues to be relevant to this day.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Judy Blume’s groundbreaking young adult novel encountered challenges the moment it was originally published in the ‘70s. Citations for challenges often include “sexually offensive,” “profane,” and “immoral” content. In reality, Blume’s novel was one of the first to discuss common and normal occurrences during adolescence, particularly for girls. On top of its supposed “anti-Christian” messages, it’s interesting to witness a 52-year-old book continue to be the center of controversy.
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