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14 Classic Children’s Books That Have Been Banned In America

The land of the free.

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2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein


When: 1988

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

Leon Neal / Getty Images

When: 2006

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.


5. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh


When: 1983

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


When: 2010

Why: Forget anti-semitism; the 50th Anniversary "Definitive Edition’" was instead banned 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


When: 1996

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.”


9. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


When: 1900

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


When: 1963

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.”

12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl


When: 1988

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.


13. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum / Via

When: 1928

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.”

14. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr. / Via

When: 2010

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.’

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This post originally stated that Green Eggs and Ham was banned in America due to homosexual tendencies, but that turned out to be a terrible, terrible rumor. Though the book was, in fact, banned in China, it was never banned in America (to our knowledge). Sorry!