Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books for Kids

Today is the start of Banned Books Week, so I thought I'd take some time to highlight a few of the children's books that have been challenged or banned throughout the years. The Harry Potter series tops the Top 100 Most Challenged/Banned Books from the past decade. According to an article on Yahoo News yesterday, "The series has been challenged for occultism, Satanism, violence, being anti-family and having religious viewpoint."

Another popular children's book series that appears on the list is Captain Underpants. According to that same article, "The books were said to contain offensive language, to be sexually explicit and to be anti-family." I actually took a trip to the library today to pick up The Adventures of Captain Underpants. I've never read this series but plan to read this first book in the series with C this week in support of Banned Books Week.

Earlier in the year, I read Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach to C. He seemed to like it and I didn't find anything wrong with it. But it's on the list of Most Frequently Challenged Books from 1990-1999. Why? According to that Yahoo article, it's because "James was disobedient and there was violence in the book."

Classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, A Wrinkle in Time and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are also on the list. And a more recent popular series: Junie B. Jones. I know some of the girls in C's class enjoy those books. I'm not sure of the reason for challenging that one. The only thing I can find is that parents don't like the poor use of grammar. But there must be some other reason, right???

So how do you feel about all of this? Have you read any of these challenged books to your kids? Do you plan to read any of the most frequently challenged books this week? In addition to Captain Underpants, I also picked up The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I saw it on my library's Banned Books Week table today and figured it was short enough for me to get through this week.

What have you been reading with your children this week? Hop on over to Mouse Grows Mouse Learns to share!


  1. Coming from the former Soviet Union, I am well familiar with censorship and object to it. I think the only books that need to be banned are the ones promoting racial hatred and violence. Last year we read "And Tango Makes Three". It's on the list because it tackles homosexuality. It's a wonderful story that we both enjoyed.

  2. Great post Julie! Enjoy your books this week! :)

  3. I have to agree with Natalie, I think it should be up to each individual family as to rather they want certain books read or not read by their children. My older kids I know read James and the Gian Peach and I never found anything wrong with it. I believe most of the books here my son read at one point or another.

    Great Post and thank you for sharing it.

  4. Great post. I'll let my kids read anything they want that's age-appropriate. I don't think anything should be banned, but if I did have any concerns, well, that's what communication is for.

  5. Interesting to see A Wrinkle in Time on the list - it was one of my favorite books as a child, but my son refused to read it - because he said it had objectionable content - I guess he's taking the roll of censor in our family :)

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