Happy Banned Book Week!

This week is Banned Book Week! Probably one of my favorite “library” related weeks of the year. Why? Because of all the interesting and amusing stories about how people have tried (and sometimes successfully) to ban books. Let’s just take a look at a few good ones.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. was banned this past January by the Texas State Board of Education. Why? Because someone didn’t do their research and confused the beloved children’s author with the author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation. Opps! Source

Dropping from it’s number 1 spot to number 2 And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. Why? Homosexuality.  Tango is adopted and raised by two male penguins.

The dictionary. No wonder kids today can’t spell. Why? The Merriam Webster was banned in a California elementary school in January 2010 for its definition of oral sex. “It’s just not age appropriate,” a district representative said.  Other dictionaries have been banned for having slang words such as “balls”.  Source

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Why? 11 states, including the Illinois Police Association tried to get this book banned because of the portrayal of policemen as pigs.  Source

SPEAK. Why? Obviously because it’s pronography!  As the author stated:

Wesley wrote an opinion piece in the News-Leader of Springfield, MO, in which he characterized SPEAK as filthy and immoral. Then he called it “soft pornography” because of two rape scenes.

The fact that he sees rape as sexually exciting (pornographic) is disturbing, if not horrifying.

She’s right, kinda disturbing… Source

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was banned in China in 1931.  Why? because “animals should not use human language” and that it was “disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.” Source

source: U of M's Hatcher Graduate Library

Handmaid’s Tale. This award winning book is #37 on ALA’s 100 most frequently challenged books.  Why?  Because it is anti-Christian and pornographic.  Not surprising that it is most often banned in Texas, the same state that is limiting the information on Islam in textbooks because they are too pro-Islam.

Where’s Waldo. I spent many hours of my childhood looking for that striped sweater wearing man.  Why? Apparently in one of the books there is a topless sunbather.  If I can’t find a guy wearing a bright red and white sweater, who’s going to find a tiny nipple? Source Click here, To see the risque picture (and the new “clean” version).

Fahrenheit 451. Why? Profanity.  Funny thing is, the story examines censorship and was released in a censored edition in 1967, eliminating the profanity.  The book was banned in a school in Mississippi in 1999 for the words that Bradbury insisted be put back in in the reprint.  Amazing the complaints didn’t come until the book report was due. Source

Steal this book. Why? Apparently stores and libraries refused to stock the book because they felt the title would lead to shoplifting.  It wasn’t banned in the US  for the fact that it is a guide to governmental overthrow or the descriptions of pipe bomb, steal credit cards, and grow marijuana. Source

My whole beef with many of the reasons books are banned today is the fact that parents let their children watch television, movies, and play video games that contain all of the things they are appalled about in books.  Hypocritical, anyone?

Here are some other lists you may like to take a look at!

Top 100 Banned Books 2000-2009 (ALA)

Top 10 Most Banned Books 2009 (ALA)

Banned Books and Authors

The 11 Most Surprising Banned Books (Huffington Post)

10 Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week (NYT)


~ by reluctant_gamer on September 29, 2010.

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