I recently did a couple posts about banned books, but this is a topic that could sadly go on forever.
I decided to look up and see which books are banned or challenged that I have either read or know a lot about (because of maybe media, it was made into a movie...etc.) I will leave links to my resources. (Most will probably have more books that I don't list here.) Please note that I do not think any book should be banned, even "bad" ones, even problematic ones. Problematic books can start discussions. Trigger Warning: The last book mentioned is about the subject of rape.
1. Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic series about a man living in the jungle was pulled from the shelves of a public library in the appropriately named town of Tarzana, California. Authorities thought the adventure stories unsuitable for youngsters, since there was no evidence that Tarzan and Jane had married before they started cohabiting in the treetops.
My thoughts: I never read the books. I saw the movie version, but I can't imagine the books were worth banning. The reason for it being banned speaks of the times from which it was published, I suppose.
2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
When the book was finally published in 1963, the book was banned because adults found it problematic that Max was punished by being sent to bed without dinner, and they also bristled at the book's supernatural themes. A 1969 column in Ladies Home Journal deemed the book "psychologically damaging for 3- and 4-year-olds."
My thoughts: Aw, really? I love this book and also the movie. I don't think we have to worrry about a 3 or 4 year old being damaged from it. I mean, know your child before reading a book that might be too scary for them.
3. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Some schools blocked Louise Fitzhugh's book from shelves when it came out in the 1960s because of concerns that the 11-year-old child's penchant for peeping on her neighbors, jotting down her brutally honest observations, and being generally disagreeable could negatively influence kids by setting a bad example. Early critics argued that Harriet "didn't spy, but rather gossiped, slandered, and hurt other people without feeling sorry about her actions," Thought Co. said.
My thoughts: I have a blind spot for this book. I loved it as a child and it is one of the first chapter books that really got me into reading and grew my love of writing. Why shouldn't Harriet be allowed to write her true feelings? Her notebooks were stolen; they were never meant to be read. My reading this at 11/12 turned me into a spy! I kept a journal and everything. I "spied" on people, but I wasn't cruel. I just wrote what I saw. Looking back, I see that as a kid, you see and hear more than you should. Harriet should not be banned.
4. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
A parents group in Kansas decided that any book featuring two talking animals must be the work of the devil, and so had E.B. White's 1952 work barred from classrooms. The group's central complaint was that humans are the highest level of God's creation, as shown by, they said, the fact we're "the only creatures that can communicate vocally. Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God."
My thoughts: *sigh* This book is harmless. It's sad, sure! It is going to give a bunch of kids their first good book cry, but I don't see how anyone could think this book should be banned. I loved this as a child, still as an adult.
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Parents have taken issue with its “excerpts on masturbation,” claiming it “encourages pornography.” According to PBS, the novel has also come under fire for “vulgarity, racism and anti-Christian content.” But Alexie himself seems unfazed about his popular book being banned, saying in 2013, “I knew it would.”
My thoughts: I have yet to read this book, so I can't say if the masturbation part was explicit. I've heard a lot about the book and about how important the story is. I don't think the masterbation scene is grounds to ban the book. Young people (the character is 14) are starting to learn about their bodies. We need to stop making the subject so taboo. For the most part, I think kids, especially teenagers should be able to read what they want, but parents should be aware of the content of the media they are consuming, because of course there are things that go over the line. The line is something you and your child should discuss.
6. Forever by Judy Blume
This book has been banned a lot, for many reasons. Here are some. Promoting "the stranglehold of humanism on life in America. It demoralizes marital sex. Language, masturbation, birth control, and disobedience to parents. Pornography and explores areas God didn't intend to explore outside of marriage. It's basically a sexual 'how-to-do' book for junior high students. It glamorizes sex and puts ideas in their heads.
My thoughts: I'll be honest. I do not like this book. It is a fast read, so quite easy to read. Several things in this made me feel like I was all slime covered and uncomfortable. It is really a shame; I do remember her children books with fond memories. I still believe she is a good writer. I understand why this book may have been important for the time period it was written in, but I still think the relationship in the book was toxic and should not have been anyone's reference guide to love and relationships. I STILL DON'T THINK IT SHOULD BE BANNED! However, I would say this is a "how not to" guide in my opinion.
7. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
Most of the reasons given for banning or challenging these are "too scary for intended age group."
My thoughts: Come on! Most of us on here enjoy horror, right? These books were so important to me when I was a kid. I loved reading them. (And Fear Street) I never thought they were too scary. Some people like the feeling of being spooked, even kids. If your kid is too scared of these books...news flash, they don't have to read them until they are ready. If they insist on reading them, despite getting nightmares, fear not, they are just horror lovers in training!
8. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
A vocal group of Christians has been resistant to Harry’s charms from the start. Members of this community, who believe the Bible to be literal truth, campaigned vigorously to keep J.K. Rowling’s best-selling novels out of classrooms and libraries. They even staged public book burnings across the country, at which children and parents were invited to cast Rowling’s books into the flames. Their reasons: Portrayal of magic is likely to attract unsuspecting children to real-world witchcraft. When Harry disobeys his cruel Muggle guardians or flouts Dumbledore’s rules to save his friends, he actively encourages child readers to engage in lying and disobedience, which are explicitly forbidden by the Bible. The morals and ethics in Rowling’s fantasy tales are at best unclear, and at worst, patently unbiblical.
My thoughts: I cry. Book burning? Just no. I love these books, of course. I grew up with them. I can't imagine there are people out there not allowed to go to Hogwarts. To each their own, but please don't hurt the books.
9. Carrie by Stephen King
Another book with many reasons for being banned. Here are some: Trash (Stephen would hope you mean "good" trash, at least.) It could “harm” students, especially “younger girls.” It does not meet the standards of the community. Language, sexual descriptions and satanic killings.
My thoughts: It is horor. What do you expect there to be? Sunshine and daisies? I don't think King should be banned, though he does have *cough* some eyebrow raising content in his books (IT). I think, once again, parents should be aware of what their kids are reading. If you're an adult and think it should be banned for the above reasons... well, just don't read it and let others read it who might enjoy it. For the record, I enjoyed the book.
10. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reasons for banning: It is soft-pornography and glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex, as well as teaching principles contrary to the Bible.
My thoughts: I am disgusted. Do they not even read books before banning/challenging them? They are calling rape soft porn?! The underage sex was rape. Teens are not angels. Some do drink and curse, but this book did not go over the line as far as drinking and cursing. It tells the stories of a girl coping with the aftermath of being raped... ugh, I can't even. It is an important book. All ages and genders should read it. It ends, giving the reader a sense of hope. Imagine if you were raped or asulted or had another hard thing you were going through and you read a book like this that ended with "I am healing. I will be okay." It is the hope that one day you will also be okay.