It’s Okay, I’m in the Banned

If I were king, cartoon animals would be required to wear trousers. Sure, there would be protests and talk of constitutional violations, yet I would not rest as long as a single pig stuttered sans pantaloons.

As my lust for power grew I would enforce whimsical proscriptions, banning all music sung by pop stars named after Rocky Mountain states, and outlawing paintings depicting unicorns. Turning to the world of letters, I would summarily destroy all books containing the words “exegesis” or “shapeshifter.” And I would laugh cruelly.

During this year’s Banned Books Week, Sept. 24 – Oct. 1, take some time to examine books that have been banned (actually removed from a library or school system) or challenged (presented as a book that should be banned). Here are a few titles designated as frequently challenged books by the American Library Association, along with reasons behind their controversy:

 Adult fiction
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – use of profanity, portrayal of sexuality and teen angst

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – unflattering portrayal of area residents, use of obscenity

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – language, anti-family and anti-religious viewpoints

The Color Purple by Alice Walker – explicit content, violence

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – mistreatment of women, sexual content, anti-Christian sentiments

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume – religious indecisiveness, focus on puberty

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – language, inappropriate religious beliefs, focus on death

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey – insensitivity, lack of suitability for intended age group, encouraging children to disobey authority

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – promoting witchcraft among children

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – frightening content, violence, language, encouraging disobedience towards adults

The Stupids series by Harry Allard and James Marshall – negative depiction of families, encouraging children to be disobedient, promoting low self-esteem


Obviously the motivations for challenging these books were extremely important to someone. However, having read many of these books, I find it difficult to understand the perceived threats. If the Stupids want to sleep with their feet on pillows at the head of the bed, so be it! Happily, people in the United States are free to express their opinions, no matter how wrong they may be. Banned Books Week reminds us that there are those who would try to take away that freedom.

For more information go to the American Library Association website and check out their lists of frequently challenged books. Maybe even read one and try to understand what the hullaballoo is all about. Myself, once I’ve trousered the pig I plan on checking in with Huck and Jim.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.