Banned Books Week: All Your Faves Are Banned  
Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: All Your Faves Are Banned 
by Elizabeth 

In libraries, there’s a saying: there should always be at least one book in your library you dislike, or else you’re not doing it right. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. Welcome to Banned Books Week! Here, we’ll celebrate all of the wonderful books that have been banned from libraries throughout the decades. 

“Well, of course,” you may be thinking. “Some books are just SCANDALOUS.” But what about “Green Eggs and Ham”? This picture book about a picky eater was challenged in California for being too seductive. That’s right: Dr. Seuss, too sexy. “Where’s Waldo?” and “Alice in Wonderland” were banned for the same reason. “Where the Wild Things Are”, the story of a little boy going on imaginary wild romps with monsters after being sent to his room, has been challenged for witchcraft. Shel Silverstein’s poem “Help! I’m Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor” was apparently a little too tempting: his books were banned for promoting cannibalism. And some books offend every side: George Orwell’s “1984” was banned for being BOTH pro-communist and anti-communist. Even the dictionary’s been banned! 

The American Library Association updates their list of the most challenged and banned books every year. Want to really live life on the edge? Check out a banned book or two to see what all the fuss is about! Here’s five of my favorite books from the banned books list to get you started, plus one more delightful read you’d never think was banned. 

Hate U Give

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas 

Did you know that this book has been on the NY Times Bestseller List for 186 weeks and counting? That’s 3 and a half YEARS. This book is still sadly topical: a high school girl sees a police officer kill her friend and then watches as his death turns into a national news story. Teenage Starr has to learn to balance between worlds and find her own voice while friends, family, and the media all start to take sides. Banned for profanity, drug use, and being “anti-cop.” 

Drama

“Drama” by Raina Telgemeier 

“Drama” has been on the most challenged book list for 4 years in a row. This heartwarming graphic novel tells the story of Callie, a theater-loving middle school student who wants to create the perfect set for her school’s play. Meanwhile, she has to deal with ticket sales, difficult crew members, and an inconvenient crush. Raina Telgemeier is also the author of the graphic novel reboot of “The Babysitter’s Club”. Banned for LGBT content and going against family values. 

Saga

“Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan 

This one’s more explicit, but adult readers might love it. In a distant future, two groups of aliens have been fighting for decades. When two soldiers from opposite sides fall in love, their baby becomes part of an interplanetary cover-up: no one can know that peace is possible. Definitely only read this if you’re over 18, but it’s a fantastic series, and its main focus is on one family determined to survive whatever the odds. Banned for nudity, swearing, sexual content, and being “anti-family.” 

Bridge to Terabithia

“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson 

Find your tissue box. Do you have it? Okay, then you’re ready to read the kids’ classic “Bridge to Terabithia”, a heartwarming book about imagination, friendship, and overwhelming grief. Jess and Leslie may have to endure the trials of middle school, but they have an escape: Terabithia, their imaginary magical land where they rule as king and queen. This is one of those “why did they ban this” books: “Terabithia” was challenged for Satanism, an odd sentiment for a book that talks about God and angels as much as fairies and magic. 

Prince and Knight

“Prince & Knight” by Daniel Haack 

“Prince & Knight” tells the story of a prince who falls for a handsome knight instead of a beautiful princess. Its sequel, “Maiden & Princess”, shows a Cinderella-like girl falling for an unexpected person at the royal ball. These are adorable stories with gorgeous illustrations. Banned for LGBT content. 


And one more, a book you’d never think was banned: 

Winnie the Pooh

“Winnie-the-Pooh" by A. A. Milne 

Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals and their adventures have been banned multiple times over the years for some surprising reasons: being religiously offensive (three times, two different religions), dubious political affiliations, dubious sexuality, and – perhaps the only fair accusation for our bumbling bear – not wearing pants.  

And remember, as always: if you don’t like any of my recommendations, you don’t have to read them!
Here’s a link to the ALA list so you can find a banned book that’s a little more your style.

Happy reading!  
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org On 30 September, 2020 at 11:46 AM  

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