What do Charlotte's Web and The Diary of Anne Frank have in common? In the last several years, individuals, often parents, have complained about their content and lobbied to have them permanently removed from classroom or school libraries. You might wonder what these books could possibly contain that makes them so offensive, so utterly despicable as to render them unfit for consumption. I'll tell you.
Charlotte's Web is a classic story of loyalty and friendship between a loveable pig named Wilbur and a barn spider named Charlotte. In 2006, parents in a Kansas school district tried to have the book banned from the library because it featured talking animals that were, in their words, "blasphemous and unnatural" and broached the topic of death, which they found "unsuitable subject matter for a children's book."
The Diary of Anne Frank gives an indescribably moving account of a young Jewish girl, hidden for two years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. However, in 1983, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for the rejection of this important historical record because they felt it was a "real downer." In 1998, the diary was removed from a classroom in Corpus Christi, Texas after two parents claimed it was "pornographic." Students led an extensive letter-writting campagin and two months later a review committee recommended the ban be lifted.
Unfortunately, the practice of banning and/or challenging books is not new or uncommon. Each year the list of literary black sheep grows longer as more and more books fall victim to the slippery slope of censorship. Don't let this happen to your favorite book!
Celebrate Banned Books Week with us from now until October 6th and exercise your right to read!
Don't know where to start? Read our banned book reviews, pick something from this list of banned and challenged classics, or the top 100 banned or challenged books of the last decade.
We also highly recommend the following banned or challenged children's books:
The Lorax by Dr. Suess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson