CENSORED CHILDREN'S BOOKS
MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD:
SIX CENTURIES OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE AT THE DE GRUMMOND COLLECTION
JUNE - SEPTEMBER 2000
Blubber by Judy Blume; Dell, , 1979.
Challenged in Ohio and Wisconsin because the character who taunts an overweight classmate is never punished. Challenged in Montana because of offensive language.
Restricted in Lindenwold, New Jersey elementary school library because of language. Banned, but later restricted in Peoria, IL and Hanover, PA because of strong sexual content and language.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Donna Diamond; Crowell, 1977.
Challenged by parents in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Kansas and Maine due to the use of swear words and references to sorcery and witchcraft.
Call Me Charley by Jesse Jackson; Dell, 1967, c 1945.
Parents of a black fourth-grade student filed suit against Grand Blanc, Michigan school officials in 1979 after a teacher read this book to their son’s class. They objected to one of the characters, a white boy, calling a black child “Sambo,” “nigger,” and “coon.”
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite; Alyson Wonderland, 1990.
Challenged at numerous public libraries from 1992-1994 because it “...promotes homosexuality and is offensive.” Removed from the Brooklyn, NY school district curriculum (1992) because the school board objected to words that were “age inappropriate.” Moved from the children’s section of the Fort Worth, TX public library, the Manatee, FL public library, and the Mercer County Library System in Lawrence, NJ.
The Day They Came to Arrest the Book: A Novel by Nat Hentoff; Delacorte Press, 1982.
Students and faculty at a high school become embroiled in a censorship case over “Huckleberry Finn.”
Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs; Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973.
Removed from all elementary classrooms in Holland, Michigan in 1979 after several parents complained that the book portrays Santa Claus as having a negative attitude toward Christmas.
The Giver by Lois Lowry; Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Temporarily banned from classes by the Bonita Unified School District in California in 1994 after four parents complained that violent and sexual passages were inappropriate for children.
Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003) by J. K. Rowling; Scholastic.
The bestselling Harry Potter series topped the American Library Association’s 1999 List of Most-Challenged Books, issued January 18, 2000. The series was attacked by parents and others concerned about the books’ focus on wizardry and magic.
In Zeeland, Michigan District Superintendent Gary Feenstra issued an executive order requiring parental permission for students grades 5-8 to check out the books from the school library. The issue was dropped when the School Board refused to consider it on their February 2000 agenda. The meeting was attended by approximately 100 citizens, where more than half of the speakers were against Feenstra’s directive.
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman; In Other Words, 1989.
Challenged in Arizona, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina for promoting the idea that homosexuality is okay.
In 1993 the book was moved from the children’s section to the adult section of the Elizabethtown Public Library in North Carolina because it “promotes a dangerous and ungodly lifestyle from which children must be protected.”
Three state legislators in 1993 wanted the book removed from the regional library system in Gainesville, Georgia saying, “We could put together a resolution to amend the Georgia state constitution to say that tax dollars cannot be used to promote homosexuality, pedophilia, or sadomasochism.”
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, Harper & Row, 1970.
Challenged in Illinois, Texas, New Jersey because of nudity. Challenged in the Elk River, Minnesota schools in 1992 “because reading the book could lay the foundation for the future use of pornography.”
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George; Harper, 1972.
Challenged in Missouri in 1982 because of the book’s “socialist, communist, evolutionary and anti-family themes.
Naomi in the Middle by Norma Klein, pictures by Leigh Grant; Dial Press, 1974.
Restricted in Brockport, NY in 1977 to students with parental permission. Challenged in Orlando, FL in 1980 and Charlotte, NC in 1986 because the book “is a perfect picture of secular humanism.” In 1980 the book was banned in Monroe, LA because “it is not our intention to have objectionable materials on our library shelves.”
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig; Windmill Books, 1969.
In 1977, the Illinois Police Association wrote to librarians asking them to remove the book because its characters, all shown as animals, present police as pigs – though in favorable portrayals. Similar problems were reported in 11 other states.
The Stupids Step Out by James Marshall; Houghton Mifflin, 1974.
Challenged in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1984 because it “encourages disrespectful language.”
Removed from school libraries in Vancouver, Washington and Horsham, Pennsylvania because “it described families in a derogatory manner and might encourage children to disobey their parents,” and because the book makes parents look like “boobs” and undermines authority.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; Ariel Books, 1962.
Challenged in Anniston, Alabama schools for sending a mixed signal to children about good and evil. The complainant also objected to listing the name of Jesus Christ along with the names of great artists, philosophers, scientists and other religious leaders.
In 1991 the book was challenged by a parent and pastor in El Paso, Texas because of its New Age religious basis, stating it would produce “confusion, anti-family and anti-Christian values.”
Parents in Rialto, California objected to the book being in the sixth-grade reading curriculum since it was a frightening book that encourages one to believe in make-believe.
American Libraries, Volume 31: Nos. 1 & 2, January 31, and February 28, 2000.
Banned Books Week 1988: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, by Robert Doyle; ALA, 1988.
Hit List: Frequently Challenged Books for Children, Donna Reidy Pistolis, Editor; ALA, 1996.
INTERNET SITES FOR THE STUDY OF CENSORSHIP
American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom
100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-1999
Kay Vandergrift Censorship Links
Judy Blume Talks about Censorship
Robert Cormier Censorship Issues
Harry Potter Censorship Issues
The de Grummond Collection has many resource files with information on authors, illustrators, and subjects. Please ask for them at the 3rd floor reference desk in McCain Library. These names do not appear in the online catalog, but can be accessed through the de Grummond Collection vertical file index on the website..