When we hear the phrase ‘children’s books’, usually what comes into mind are innocent sweet stories that have happy endings—but sometimes we are wrong. There are times that these charming plots and witty characters are deemed to be more than who they portray they are. For some absurd reason, a large number of complaints have been filed challenging the morality of a number of well-known books.
‘Why are books banned?’ you might ask, well it roots from the best intentions from parents saying that the content of the story may cause harm to children. Being that themes may cause kids to question their morality, teach them bad values, promote ignorance, and everything in between. Censorship is a subject that we all have different opinions on; we may think that one thing should be censored while the other person doesn’t.
What does being banned mean for books?
If we look at its dictionary meaning, being banned is ‘to prohibit legally’ may it be a person or an object. Also, if you check another definition for ban or banned it will be synonymous to summoning, but we won’t dwell on that. A banned book means that it is not allowed to be read or it has been removed from the school’s curriculum or from the local libraries.
Example of why there are banned books in america
Even with the tagline of ‘land of the free’, not everything has acquired freedom. We can also question the ever controversial ‘freedom of speech rule’ if we think about it. A great example of a children’s book being banned is “Where’s Waldo?” a picture book that asks you to look for the skinny, stripped sweater wearing character among a really crowded place. The reason?—It was because of a pinhead sized drawing of a woman having a wardrobe malfunction.
They had a point in banning this book, but you may think it was too much for banning it. The author did redo the drawing and let the publishers reprint it—though a few states did not redistribute it. And since we’re already here, I now present you with a short banned book list of what we thought were harmless books when we first read them as kids and even now.
A short compilation of books
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A.Milne
This honey loving character adventure stories have been removed from random parts of the United States because parents seem to think that talking animals are considered “an insult to God”. Piglet being an insult to Muslims is also another bullet to the heart of this book. A number of institutions with an argument that the plot revolves around Nazism removed Pooh from their shelves.
Hansel and Gretel by The Brothers Grimm
You can’t deny that you have read this book, because you did. The Grimm brothers are famous for the multiple children’s books that we came to know and love, but at some point this particular book of theirs got banned. Why?—because two women who claimed they were witches said that the story gave their kind a bad reputation. They acted like it should be one of the banned books of the Bible.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Even if you didn’t read the book, you surely have watched the movie version. If not, the post is about a boy who took on a journey inside a giant peach with a group of insects. This classic story was removed because of inappropriate language. The word ‘ass’ has been included— and everybody lost their minds, hypothetically.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Another book about talking animals, another book removed from the shelves. For the same justification for banning Winnie-the-Pooh, the characters are an ‘insult to God’. To think that an innocent pig named Wilbur could be less than innocent. Arachnophobia induced readers seems to have no problem accepting a talking spider though.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Just recently this series about a boy who was known as the ‘chosen one’ of the magic world has ended that his term in one of the shelves of a Catholic school came to a close too. The pastor of this school case is that he was protecting the students from the heavy theme of sorcery. Though parents did not agree to this, the book series was still pulled from the institution.
And this list is just a surface of it all, there are more—around 18,000 challenges have been filed as a matter of fact. It is not a bad thing to question the values that may be inferred from children’s books, may it be the classics or the new ones. Encourage your children to ask questions if they don’t understand some topics about what they read.
Read the book first hand before letting your kids read them if you are skeptical about the content. Do not outright snatch the book out of their hands if you have realized that it wasn’t appropriate for them.
What books does your child read that made them go ‘huh?’ What books did you read when you were young that made you question things in life? Post a comment about it, because you may not be the only one.