1. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
“In 2006, some parents in a Kansas school district decided that talking animals are blasphemous and unnatural; passages about the spider dying were also criticized as being ‘inappropriate subject matter for a children’s book.’
According to the parent group at the heart of the issue, ‘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.’”
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
“In 1980, it was removed from classrooms in Miller, Missouri, for ‘making promiscuous sex look like fun.’
In 1993, a group of parents attempted to ban the book in Corona-Norco, California, because it ‘focused on negativity.’”
3. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
“A boy throwing a tantrum was considered dangerous behavior and Sendak was accused of glorifying Max’s anger, prompting psychologists to condemn it as ‘too dark and frightening.’ In a March, 1969 column for Ladies’ Home Journal, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim called the book psychologically damaging for 3- and 4-year-olds. He thought the idea that a mother would deprive a child of food was an inappropriate form of punishment, and that it would traumatize young readers. Thus, it was banned heavily in the American South, and by libraries nationwide in the first years of its release.
Where the Wild Things Are has also been challenged over the years for images considered to promote witchcraft and supernatural elements.”
4. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“It has been challenged on sexual grounds, and has been called ‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’.
It should be noted that there are no sex scenes at all in the book, and no sexual language.”
5. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
“In 1985, challengers at Cunningham Elementary School in Beloit, Wisconsin, said that A Light in the Attic ‘encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.’”
6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
“Ministers and educators challenged it for its ‘ungodly’ influence and for depicting women in strong leadership roles. They opposed not only children reading it, but adults as well, lest it undermine longstanding gender roles.
In 1957, the director of the Detroit Public Library banned The Wizard of Oz for having ‘no value for children of today,’ for supporting ‘negativism’, and for ‘bringing children’s minds to a cowardly level.’
In one of the most noted cases of censorship efforts against the book, seven Fundamentalist Christian families in Tennessee opposed the novel’s inclusion in the public school syllabus and filed a lawsuit in 1986 based on the novel’s depiction of benevolent witches and promoting the belief that essential human attributes were ‘individually developed rather than God given.’
On the charge of including good witches in the story, they argued that all witches are bad, therefore it is ‘theologically impossible’ for good witches to exist.
The book has even been used on the political spectrum, with some claiming that it promotes socialist and Marxist values due to its perceived lack of a divine presence.”
7. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
“In a real head-scratcher of a case, a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it ‘conflicted with their community values’ in 1996.”
8. The Rabbits’ Wedding by Garth Williams
“In Williams’ story, a rabbit with white fur entered into a marriage with one with black fur – a plotline that did not please some in Alabama. The state library system removed the book because it was believed the book was attacking segregation policies.”
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
“At issue with censors are death being part of the plot, Jess’ use of the word ‘lord’ outside of prayer, offensive language, and claims that the book promotes secular humanism, new age religions, the occult, and Satanism. Some critics also proclaim that Leslie is not a good role model simply because she doesn’t attend church.”
10. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
“The controversy over The Giving Tree is mostly due to debate over its interpretation. Was the tree selfless or self-sacrificing? Was the boy selfish or reasonable in his demands of the tree?
Some psychologists claim the book portrays a ‘vicious, one-sided relationship’ between the tree and the boy; with the tree as the selfless giver, and the boy as the greedy person who takes but never gives.”
11. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
“In the late 1970s, The Bell Jar was suppressed for not only its profanity and sexuality but for its overt rejection of the woman’s role as wife and mother.”
12. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
“Why it was challenged: A female dog was referred to as a ‘bitch’ in the text.”
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“Challenged in the Vernon Verona Sherill, NY, School District (1980) as a ‘filthy, trashy novel.’
Banned from the Lindale, TX, advanced placement English reading list (1996) because the book ‘conflicted with the values of the community.’”
14. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
“In 1931 it was banned by the Governor of Hunan Province in China on the grounds that ‘Animals should not use human language, and that it was disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.’”
15. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Prosperous plantation owners had some influence too, and banned the book due to its anti-slavery themes. Surprisingly, they were not alone in their decision. Tsarist Russia did the same in objection to the book’s ‘undermining religious ideals’ and presenting a model of equality.”
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