Banned Books Week

Celebrate Banned Books Week 2017 from Sept. 23 - Sept. 29 at Harper College Library! Here is a timeline of some of the most famous banned literature and why they were prohibited. By clicking the “More” button on the event and then clicking “Find Out More”, you can access some of these banned books from the Harper College Library Catalog. The books shown are dated according to the year they were published.

1850-01-01 00:00:00

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter was banned upon its release in 1850 due to offensive views and sinful actions.

1852-01-01 00:00:00

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin was banned in many schools because of its depiction to slavery. Rumor has it, a book seller in Alabama was forced to leave town for selling the novel. One person disliked this book so much that they sent a package to the author with a slave's severed ear inside.

1855-12-01 22:07:14

Leaves of Grass by Walt Witman

Leaves of Grass is challenged in many places for being disturbing or misunderstood.

1862-07-02 21:47:42

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Les Misérables is highly well known. Following its publication in 1862, it was banned and received negative reviews for having crude stereotypes, propaganda, and being too sensual.

1865-11-01 05:16:52

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The well loved Alice in Wonderland was banned for the use of talking animals in some schools. Also, people believed that Alice was on drugs (ex: her eating something that changed her size) so they decided it would be best to prohibit this classic novel.

1884-01-08 00:00:00

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

To this day, Huck Finn is considered a challenged book because of its offensive dialogue, conflicting views on racism and appropriateness for children in classrooms.

1900-11-01 06:56:28

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been read by many people over the years. Despite its popularity, this novel has been under fire for many reasons. In 1957, the director of Detroit Library claimed that this novel had no value to children of this day and age. In addition, many public libraries banned the book in 1928 arguing that the story was ungodly for depicting women in strong leadership roles.

1906-05-01 21:22:30

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

The Jungle was banned in Yugoslavia, East Germany, South Korea and Boston for having socialistic views.

1925-08-01 18:10:41

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Many people know the story of Gatsby and Daisy. A college in Charleston, South Carolina challenged this classic because of language and sexual references.

1929-06-01 06:11:28

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front was seen as an anti-war film, which led to it being banned.

1929-07-03 03:48:09

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms was banned in many places for sexual content and received backlash from Italy for how it portrayed the army.

1936-07-01 10:00:38

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The classic Gone with the Wind was banned in many places due to its portrayal of slaves and immoral characters.

1940-08-01 18:02:02

Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son is a popular book at Harper College Library. This book has been challenged numerous times for its violent, sexual, graphic content.

1947-02-01 13:16:07

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

This famous diary is considered one of the most challenged books of all time. Some people find the diary sexually offensive, while others have deemed it "too depressing" and didn't want children to read it.

1948-09-04 09:12:09

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was banned for glorifying criminal activity, use of torture, violence and death.

1951-01-01 00:00:00

Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Catcher in the Rye was banned for encouraging teenage rebellion, profanity, use of alcohol and inappropriate behavior.

1952-04-01 15:55:41

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Children everywhere love the novel Charlotte's Web. What many people might find surprising is that Charlotte's Web was viewed in many schools as "inappropriate" due to it having talking animals and spiders.

1954-10-01 04:51:56

Lord of The Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies has been banned in many schools for the excessive amounts of violence and profanity.

1958-08-01 18:02:02

The Rabbit's Wedding by Garth Williams

The Rabbit's Wedding is the story of two bunnies, one black and one white, who love one another. The book was given major criticism and banned in many schools, claiming that the book dealt with "interracial relationships".

1959-01-01 00:00:00

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

The mayor of Venice has banned this book, as well as many others, because he believes that they promote gender stereotypes and support gay rights. Other children books banned in Venice include: Big Red Cat by Éric Battut, What’s Dad’s Secret? by Francesca Pardi & Desideria Guicciardini and Little Egg by Francesca Pardi and Tullio F. Altan.

1960-01-01 00:00:00

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is considered a classic novel that most children read in schools. Some people never got a chance to read this book in school because it was banned for racial inequality, offensive language/terms and the use of rape as a main plot point.

1960-01-01 00:00:00

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was banned for encouraging bad behavior, premarital sex, racism and homosexual relationships. In order to compromise with the ban, some teachers decided to have students bring home permission slips for parents to sign so their child could participate in class.

1960-11-01 06:56:28

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Legendary Green Eggs and Ham was once banned by the People's Republic of China for showing signs of early Marxism. It's also been said that this children's book references homosexual seduction.

1961-01-01 00:00:00

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

This well known children's classic, James and the Giant Peach ended up on the banned list because of its mature themes throughout the book. One school in Wisconsin took it a step further and denied letting students read the book because a passage referenced a woman licking her lips.

1963-04-01 15:55:41

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

When Where the Wild Things Are first came out, it received mostly negative reviews. Parents and teachers felt that the book was "psychologically damaging" and traumatizing. Many parents also felt that a book about sending a child to their room without super, was an inappropriate form of punishment and wanted it banned from their schools.

1964-02-01 13:16:07

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree has been read to millions of children since the 1960's. Although many have read this book, a library in Colorado banned this novel because the main boy's relationship with a tree can be perceived negatively. Also, the boy has been said to be selfish and sexist.

1964-04-01 15:55:41

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy was removed from schools in Ohio for... Harriet being a spy. Parents disliked the sleuthing child as a protagonist and didn't want their children doing spy related activities.

1967-01-01 00:00:00

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

This Newbery Award winning novel was challenged at Southern Hills Elementary School in Wichita Falls, Texas because it references Egyptian worship, evil gods and black magic.

1967-02-01 13:16:07

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

Few people know that Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was removed from some schools. An author by the same name, Bill Martin, wrote a book about Marxism. Though these two people have no relation to one another, the book was banned because schools thought both books came from the same author, when in fact, these people have nothing to do with each other.

1970-02-01 13:16:07

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret has been banned in many schools because it is said to have anti-Christian views and too much discussion about female puberty.

1971-04-01 15:55:41

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

In 1989, the Lorax was banned in California for being too harsh on the logging industry.

1972-01-01 00:00:00

Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

Few people know that Sarah Palin tried to ban numerous amounts of books at a library in Alaska. Among this children's title, books by J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl and Stephen King were also challenged.

1974-06-01 06:11:28

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War was banned for sexual content, offensive language and violence.

1977-02-01 13:16:07

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia was seen as satanic and offensive. In addition, people were harsh about the main character, Leslie, insisting that she wasn't a good role model because she did not attend church.

1984-11-01 23:16:25

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple was banned for exploring unhealthy relationships with God, race and sexuality.

1987-02-01 13:16:07

Where's Waldo? by Martin Handford

Where's Waldo was, and still is, a look and find book that many kids still enjoy today. But did you know that this book was banned in some places? All because there was side view of a breast visible on a character in the book.

1989-10-01 04:51:56

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman

Heather Has Two Mommies is a children's book that was banned for having same sex parents. The book was written for a mother who complained that their were no books for her to read to her daughter that had to do with a family like hers. This book has now reached "collectible status".

1990-07-01 10:00:38

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

This popular novel about war was challenged in 2015 for vulgar language and sexuality. Even though it was challenged in many schools, the book has won many awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

1992-11-01 20:06:18

Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine

The well loved Goosebumps series has been challenged in over 46 schools for being too frightening for children and satanic. It's also been said that this series was not age appropriate.

1993-03-01 09:39:22

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Edition

The tenth edition of this dictionary was banned by a school board in California for providing a "too explicit" definition of the term "oral sex".

1997-03-01 09:39:22

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

The Adventures of Captain Underpants made the banned list for having a partially nude protagonist, encouraging violence and misbehavior, as well as offensive language.

1998-04-01 15:55:41

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is a series enjoyed by many children and adults. This book has been banned and challenged all over the world for the use of witchcraft and magic.

2001-02-01 13:16:07

Little Red Riding Hood by Carl Larsson

We all know and love the story Little Red Riding Hood. Why is it on the list of banned books? Is it because of the big, bad, scary wolf? Or that Little Red lies to the wolf? Or because the wolf eats two people? The answer is none of the above! This classic was banned because Red Riding Hood carried a bottle of wine to her grandmother's house in her basket.

2003-03-01 09:39:22

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner was banned for offensive language, sexually explicit scenes and unsuitability for certain age groups.

2004-04-01 15:55:41

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank received mostly positive praise, but Ellen Hopkins was banned from speaking at a middle school due to the books and inappropriate subject matter and in depth analysis of drug use.

2004-08-01 18:02:02

ttyl series by Lauren Myracle

This young adult series is criticized by many schools for being grammatically incorrect, despite the book being written in "text lingo".

2005-01-07 00:00:00

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

This children's novel (based on a true story from Central Park Zoo) was prohibited in hundreds of schools because it dealt with homosexuality of two male penguins. This children's book was also the ALA's 10 Most Challenged Books List between 2006 and 2010.

2005-01-08 00:00:00

Looking for Alaska by John Green

According to the American Library Association, award wining author, John Green, has had many books banned because of their offensive language, sexually explicit content and mature themes.

2007-03-01 09:39:22

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

A school in Stephenville, Texas felt The Vampire Academy series was threatening so not only did they ban the series (which was only 3 books at the time) but all future books the author would write for the series.

2007-08-02 18:02:02

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Before this was a Netflix series, Thirteen Reasons Why was a book. Because the novel has such intense scenes and deals with heavy subjects such as suicide and rape, it is constantly being challenged by schools all over the country.

Banned Books Week

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