It’s Banned Books Week and today I want to share with you some banned books we have reviewed and enjoyed. When I wrote an article over at Scholastic Parents this week about banned books and how I use them to teach my children lessons the response was overwhelmingly positive but what struck me was how shocked so many people were that books still get banned. The first step to banning is challenging a book and the most common people making challenges are parents. I get that parents want to protect their kids and discuss issues with them when they decide to but I simply can’t see banning a book from other people’s children as the answer.
This summer I published a list of picture books that include families with gay and lesbian parents and I lost a few dozen Facebook followers , a number of email subscribers and fielded some pretty brutal comments about me and my children. I expected it. I know that the world has many viewpoints and not everyone shares mine. So after you browse the books below tell me how would you want these books handled? Are you in favor of free access like I am? Restricting access? All out banning?All book lists include affiliate links.
Animalia by Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can lose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L “Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids alike will fall in love!
Why was it banned or challenged? It was challenged at a school library in Texas for violence and horror. This surprised me because I have a seriously low threshold for horror and I have never been bothered at all, neither have the approximately 150 kids I have read it to over the years.
Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a Christian viewpoint, rather as I read it is was the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star, and hits all the right points in between.
Why was it banned or challenged? Banned because of nude depiction of a man.
King and King by Linda de Haan is a fairytale and a funny one at that. The queen is old and cranky and wants her son to take over the kingdom but he must be married to do so. He tells her he’s not really into princesses but Mama doesn’t take the hint. After finding fault with every princess presented to him he falls in love at first sight with a prince and they live happily ever after. I like the whimsical illustrations and my kids thought the prince was funny. My son thought the book had a twist at the end with the princes falling in love, but just like the queen in the story, there was no debate over why. I like that this book uses the familiar fairytale structure to make an important statement about the existence of same-sex marriage and can be a great ice breaker to talk about it with your kids.
Why was it banned or challenged? Banned and often restricted to adults because of the depiction of gay marriage.
The Sissy Ducklingby Harvey Fierstein is a lovely book. As a mom to a son, I worry about him getting teased when he is older if he isn’t into sports, or likes to bake cookies more than play video games. This book address that, in a cute but frank way. I especially love how the dad isn’t super happy that his son is into more traditionally girly things. I think that even though we hope that all parents would be immediately supportive the reality is, that parents are human too and acceptance can take time even when there is lots of love. ETA: Now that my son is almost 6 and very into sports and very into pretty much everything that is stereotypically “boy”, I use this book to teach him the other side. To see that all people are unique and to respect everyone for that uniqueness, not for their ability to fit some societal mold.
So why was it banned? The reasons given were gay positive themes. As you will see that is, unfortunately, a recurrent theme on this short list.
Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray is a story about a dog with really bad gas but a really loving family. The book does talk a lot about farting but it’s really about unconditional love. Kids love it, will giggle through it and it has a way with kids that don’t call themselves readers. I talk more about the power of potty humor in this article for Scholastic Parents.
Why was it challenged? Challenged but retained for the use of the words fart and farting repeatedly throughout the text.
Heather Has Two Mommies by LeslÃ©a Newman was widely banned when it was first released. It is probably the best-known picture book about a family with same-sex parents. When you read it the first thing you will probably think is that it doesn’t live up to the banning. I always imagine banned books to be truly out there and this book is about a family with a doctor, a carpenter, and their daughter. Heather is starting a new school and she is nervous and exploring all the possibilities of what a family looks like just as her classmates are. She recognizes that her family is different but not less than. The illustrations are black and white and a little dated but the story is on the right track.
Why was it banned or challenged? Banned because of its acceptance of lesbian mothers raising a child.
The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family, it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher, I really appreciated the matter-of-fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book, cute illustrations and children love it.
Why was this book banned or challenged? This book wasn’t banned 10 years ago, it was just recently banned from use for an elementary school curriculum about diversity, tolerance, and bullying. It was banned from a curriculum about tolerance. Am I the only one who sees the irony? The issue was with its pages that state that some families have two moms and some have two dads. It makes me sad that some children who do have two moms or two dads won’t get a chance to see their family reflected in this bright, fun, and diverse book.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much-debated book. Its the true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but definitely liked each other. When the zookeepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived. My son loved this book and asked me to please go see the penguins when I was in New York City. I didn’t have time to but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.
Why was this book banned or challenged? This picture book was the most frequently challenged and banned book of 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006. A true story about a family of penguins. Wow.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling . My husband has just started reading book 2 in this series to my son at bedtime and they are hooked! They finished the first book a few months ago and we took a break before book 2. I love the whole Harry Potter series and it hasn’t been without much discussion between my husband and me on how we are going to space out the books. If you have read them you know that the subjects age and mature as the characters do by a school year with each book. I encourage parents to read any book that they are going to share with their young kids first to make sure it won’t scare or upset your child as well as to make sure it fits with your family. What I love so much about these books is that JK Rowling has created such a thick and detailed world and it grips even kids that don’t normally get into books as much as it does little bookworms!
Why was it challenged and banned? People get really upset about witch craft and if you google “Harry Potter Banned” you will get recent articles and blog posts promoting it’s banning. Really.
In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) by Maurice Sendak is one of the many books I remember exactly where I was when I first read it; Coquitlam Public Library sitting in the shag-carpeted row boat amazed that the main character Mickey had no clothes. Which is exactly why it got banned. First, let me tell you about the story if you have never read it. Mickey falls out of bed and into the night kitchen where the bakers try to bake him and ultimately he saves the day and falls back into bed and back to sleep. For me, this story is about power and freedom and how kids don’t get to feel that day to day but free from reality at night in their sleep they can. Even as a little girl giggling at the pictures in the book I read the words and felt the freedom from being little that Mikey felt. When I read it to my son, he giggled and giggled at Mickey’s body. I was sorta hoping he’d be more mature than I was at 5, we always expect the best from our kids right? Like me, he still got the heart of the story and even expressed that Mickey was naked because he was dreaming and got to do whatever he wanted.
So why was is banned? That whole lack of clothing issue really upset a lot of people. So much so that it’s been in the top 25 banned books for decades.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak probably doesn’t need an introduction especially with the current film adaptation. We read this book often and my son randomly quotes the book throughout the day. Telling me to “Be still” just like Max tells the Wild Things. If by chance you are not familiar with this book, it’s a story of a little boy Max who is sent to his room for being wild and his imagination turns it into another world, filled with Wild Things and freedom from rules for behavior. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all, even when he’s wild.
So why was it banned or challenged? It was challenged widely because of its inclusion of “witchcraft and supernatural elements.” Guess those are my things because I adore this book and the whole Harry Potter series that has also been banned and challenged for these reasons.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig is a book many of you may recognize from your own childhood. I remember the sweet story from my own. Sylvester is a little donkey who finds a magic pebble and after discovering that it grants wishes he makes terrible mistakes and turns himself into a rock. As a rock he is unable to wish himself back into a donkey and is left to sit silently while his parents are frantic, search and finally grieve. Sylvester almost gives up himself until by chance his parents come across his rock and the magic pebble and he is turned back into his “true self”. My son loved the story and I loved how when we talked about it he expressed so much empathy for Sylvester and his parents. The obvious message that you have to be careful what you wish for is a powerful one for kids learning about consequences. The other messages which for us were the more important ones were that family bonds can break through anything and that no matter what even if he is a rock I would never give up on him.
Now it sounds like a great book right? It is. So why was it banned? When Sylvester goes missing his parents go to the police who are portrayed as pigs. All the characters are animals and my son didn’t make the connection because he’s never in his life heard anyone refer to police officers as pigs. I thought it was tongue in cheek but in 1977 it was enough to get banned.
Daddy’s Roommate by Micheal Willhoite is a little different from the other books in this list in that the child in the book has a mommy, a daddy,and daddy also has a roommate. The book was written in 1990 and even though we don’t often hear “roommate” as a euphemism for partner or boyfriend anymore but in 1990 is was probably more common. That aside the book does a good job of explaining what this little boy’s life is like. Bug catching, reading, scary dreams – it’s pretty average stuff but he has three adults to care for him. I also like that the boy’s parents are divorced which will be something many readers will connect with. The book’s explanation of what gay means is really simple and perfect for the book’s audience. I do think that the pictures are dated but I don’t think kids will pick up on that as much as adults will.
Why was it banned or challenged? It is one of the most banned books because of its gay subject matter.
So what would you do with these books? How would you talk about them or restrict them from your child?
Christie - Childhood 101 says
We enjoy so many of the books on this list – especially The Family Book. One that raised eyebrows with some parents when I was teaching eight year olds was a fun story called, The Bugalugs Bum Thief by Australian author, Tim Winton. Everyone in the town of Bugalugs wakes up one morning to find their bums missing – a fun mystery in the making.
I would like to say as someone who is in love with books of all sorts, that I find it incredibly nettlesome, that with all the ways discrimination have practically destroyed our world, there are still so many of us that continue to allow banning of books. Our children are being raised and taught either to be accepting of everyone, or to remain ignorant to the fact that diversity is part of our lives. It’s saddening to see that something like a book can get so much negativity that it gets challenged and even banned. I, for one, has been read all of these books as a child and continue to read them to younger siblings and my own child. I was enlightened, delighted, and gained such a wonderful perspective about life and diversity. My partner and I encourage these and many other banned and challenged books to be read by our neighbors and families, so that they can see that nothing in these books differs from what is in our world today. Banning these books is only creating ignorance to others and can only lead to harm and/or persecution of peers in the future. Let’s face it. The world is changing and the majority is more accepting than ever before. Banning children’s books will not change that, but merely prolong their understanding, and hopefully their acceptance.
Adrian…name one banned book.
Allison McDonald says
Nancy no books are universally banned, a banned book is a book that has been challenged and then removed. If a book is removed from a school or public library it is banned.
I can name MANY banned books.
We have left the dark ages behind so lets leave book banning behind as well! I do wish books had a rating system similar to movies with a little something explaining why they got that rating so that when I pick up a book that I have never heard of that I will be warned a little about what I am getting into. The reality is, we all have different belief systems and just because I believe something is wrong doesn’t mean that it isn’t out there or it isn’t someone else’s reality.
Megan, I love that you said that. The truth of the matter is, a lot of these books ARE reality for kids, and they need to know that someone out there cares for them and understands what it is like to grow up in a family that looks different than most kids. And honestly, this IS our world, whether we agree with it or not, and we need to be teaching our kids that we cannot pick on kids, or hurt them just because they are a little bit different. These books would bring forth great discussions with my kids and would make some different topics a lot easier to talk about.
And I have to say, I agree with several others that these books should be read in a home setting. As parents, we need to be able to have these discussions with their kids.
These books need to be read at school, too. By not bringing up these themes in school, it can seem to children that it’s something that shouldn’t be talked about. That could quite easily lead to shaming and bullying based on a child’s home life. And also feelings of isolation and having something wrong with them. Reading inclusive books in classrooms can be a first step in preventing all that.
Megan…in the deepest parts of our being we all know what’s right and what’s wrong. By forcing children in grade school to accept the homosexual lifestyle by indoctrinating them through children’s books–is WRONG! Even your comment about rating books is taboo to the progressives, but that would be the right thing to do. Thanks for having some insight, have a great day!
Allison McDonald says
Nancy – you think it’s wrong, YOU think it’s indoctrination. Opinion is not fact.
I understand why a lot of these books are banned from school. There is no reason to expose and require my child(ren) to learn about gay, lesbian or 2 mommies/2 daddies. It is an issue that we will be speaking to our children at home and explain it in a way that goes along with our beliefs.
This also coincides with Creation vs. Evolution. If you speak about gay/lesbian or Evolution, you need to make sure that you explain that most families are made up of one man and one woman and let the students know that most of the historical events/documents were based on Christian principles!!!!! 🙂
tiffany mason says
I agree with you! Children should be allowed to keep some sort of innocence. A parent has the right to teach some of these social issues how and when they choose. Certain books should not be available to young learners. But our society always tries to push the boundaries and books like Harry Potter and where the wild things are appropriate to me. But books that have nudity or talk about social issues should be left to the parent buy if they choose but it’s not a choice s young child is ready make on their own
I agree with you. Issues of sexuality only belong in the home. We as the parents of our children are the only ones who know our children well enough to know when these ideas should or should not be presented. It is not the job of schools or libraries to do that for us.
you are whats wrong with parenting.
Allison McDonald says
I am not sure if you are saying I am what is wrong with parenting or to my commenter above. I welcomed all comments and if this is against me that’s fine. I don’t expect nods in agreement but please refrain from replying so negatively to other comments. Instead share your views without pointing figure at another commenter. Thanks.
Why? Because they want to be the one to discuss these things with their children? Isn’t that what parents are for? I think if a child in the class has two moms or two dads, then these should be read in the classroom. If not, why bother?
Allison McDonald says
Because it’s not just your own experience that matters. Diversity isn’t only important if you are plopped into a diverse area, it’s important to understand that your lens is not the only lens there is.
I’m curious, question to all that believe children should have access to all reading material. What do you suppose the reason for grade school children engaging in sexual activity, stealing, lying, having no respect for authority etc. ? What about the explosion of teachers having sex with their students. I could continue giving examples, but curious to your answers. I’m pretty sure what some of them are going to be, but humor me.
Allison McDonald says
I don’t think it’s picture books, or Harry Potter that is creating pedophilia. There are a lot of reasons why children and adults participate in depraved activities and none is related to reading. You can look at attachment disorders, you can consider mental health issues, poor parenting even but reading books still isn’t part of the problem.
Please do not think that any of us is advocating reading adult material to a toddler, just last week I managed to flip 4 pages at once in a book about where babies come from while reading it with my daughter. I didn’t like the pages, I didn’t like what SHE would take from it, but I do not wish to restrict that book from other families. That is not my job. That is not my right.
Allisonâ€¦ it is your right, and I support your right to read whatever you wish to your own child, but why do you think that those of us with differing beliefs shouldnâ€™t have that same right. I hope you understand that those pages that you turned pastâ€”get read in the classroomâ€”you donâ€™t get that choice there.
Also I hope that you understand that children are all different. Some are more mature than others and ready to process information at different ages. Only parents know at what age that is. The classroom is a place that parents send their children for the purpose of learning how to read, write , do math, and learn history etc., itâ€™s not for social engineering. The statistic on how the children are failing in many of those areas should be clear indicators of the need to return the focus to academics–what we want our tax dollars spent on. Just my thoughts.
Do you know that public libraries lifted age restriction from their policies? A six year old has the right to any book in the public library? Now we both know that most six year olds would be with their parent, but think about this, your eight or nine year old is an avid reader and goes to the YA section, or the adult section and checks out sexually laced materialâ€”which is found in both places. Is that ok for your eight or nine year old child? Parents think that scanning a book before checkout is the answerâ€”WRONG! The only way to screen inappropriate material in todayâ€™s libraries is for parents to pre-read it. I donâ€™t know too many parents that have that kind of time, do you?
Susan Zipf says
I agree with the banning of most of these books. Like it or not, no matter what century we live in, right is right and wrong is wrong. Teaching kids that there is no right or wrong, which is what most of these books do have as underlying themes, is what has our country going down the toilet right now.
Witchcraft is wrong. Gay families is wrong. Just because it’s politically incorrect to say it doesn’t make it right.
“Where the Wild Things are” is a great book, with no real reason for banning. Other than that, good riddance.
Allison McDonald says
One of the reasons Where the Wild Things Are was banned was because of witchcraft. http://www.favorite-banned-books.com/where-the-wild-things-are.html
There are NO banned books! The first amendment has been hi-jacked by liberal think tanks like the ACLU to corrupt the innocence of minor children. Book Banning is a tactic that the American Library Association (ALA) recognized to be key to get children to read salacious material. Banned Book Week is a lie. Every banned book on their list is available to minor children, in both public and school libraries. Parents, do you know what your children are reading?
Allison McDonald says
Nancy – there are banned books, books still get permanently removed from library shelves. I feel as though your mind is made up on this issue and you are just reiterating the same point over and over. We hear you, you don’t agree, you don’t believe in it. I disagree with you vehemently on the issue of “social engineering” and on the importance of not restricting book choice.
…what if their friends have two moms/dads? Do you think they shouldn’t be friends with those children, or that your kids’ stories/side of things (such as Creation, which not everyone believes in, by the way) is more important in a public school setting that other childrens’?
Susan Zipf says
Yes, my kids viewpoint is more important to me than other kids’ viewpoints. If their parents want to raise them in a warped household, that is on those other parents. My children are very well behaved, and do not point out differences in our belief systems unless they are asked openly, at which time, they will openly state what we believe.
They’re more important TO YOU. Your children are NO MORE important than the dozens to hundreds of children they go to school with in a school setting. That is not how life works. If you don’t want these books in your house, that’s your perogative, but in a school or library setting, your children are not more important than others who deserve to read about families who are like theirs.
Susan Zipf says
NO ONE has two moms or two dads. Their parent may have a gay roommate, but that person is not their parent. Honestly, why is it so hard to see that a child needs a mother AND a father?
Allison McDonald says
I debated deleting your comment because it made me so incredibly angry. I am sure you don’t see your comment as hateful or wrong but it is. I will accept differing opinions but to state that ” No one has two moms or two dads.” is wrong.
Your refusal to acknowledge these families as valid is what will continue to inspire authors to write books including diverse families and inspire bloggers like me to champion these books. Kids don’t need a mother and a father they need a loving family and a world that accepts loving families for what they are and doesn’t try to exclude those that don’t fit in their narrow definition.
radish hi says
Your comment is extremely misguided. So if a child lives with two women or men who both love the child, provide for the child, nurture, discipline, cook for, clean after and pay with the child, they are not both parents because of biology? By that logic my adoptive parents are not really my parents? I really hope that you don’t have any first hand experience with children in non traditional families because you could seriously and unnecessarily hurt them.
I definitely agree with what you’re saying. I’m not adopted myself, but have several good friends who are. By Susan’s logic, their parents are not those who care for, support and live them, but those who abused, ignored, or mistreated them instead. In my mind, that doesn’t make sense. Not only could what you’re saying hurt families with gay/lesbian parents, but impact on a much wider audience.
My friend is a lesbian married to another lesbian. She carried a child in her womb for nine months. This child was not biologically hers, but was the biological child of her wife. One carried the child, the other provided her DNA. To say this child doesn’t have two mothers is just silly.
God loves everyone. There is one thing you should think about that is that you are not to judge people that is gods job not yours. You are to love your neighbor no matter what. Being bigoted is judging and there is nothing wrong with any of these books. Your children have the right to have different beliefs then you. What if they are gay and scared of you because of your comments about people that are different. Maybe one of these books would help them in believing in their self. Or would you want the shame you put upon them to make them feel so bad about their selves that you find them dead? It happens all the time….
Oh come on! All childrens’ families deserve to be represented regardless of how you feel about it! Your beliefs have no place in a school classroom, unless you are paying for a private school affiliated with your faith. This is just another way to shame and alienate the LGBTQ community cloaked in your personal beliefs. You and parents like you pushing Christianity in public schools are part of the reason I will be home schooling my kids.
Books aren’t banned from anywhere. They are protected by the first amendment. School boards are afraid to remove them because of lawsuits. The board will simply move the book to older minors (Jr. high or high school). I found a book with oral sex in, very explicit, and one of the main characters committed suicide at the end of the book. It was moved from Jr. high to the high school, and I am pretty sure it’s in your Jr. High or HS. This author has several books and they can all be found in schools across America. Another title (biography) has the f-word in it 594 times, the sex, drugs and alcohol is glorified. This author was caught embellishing the truth, but that didn’t hinder the schools from buying it for the children. Parents have an impossible task when they put their children in government schools. Homeschool is a better option.
I have to admit, I agree with the banning of most those books in the public school setting. I would be upset as a parent to have them read to my kids. I don’t live in the dark ages. I just want my kids raised in our family belief system. I would like it to be my choice of when, where, how I teach on the subjects of homosexuality etc. It should’nt be a school’s decision. There are so many other incredible books to choose from to teach our kids!
I thoroughly enjoyed this article. Thanks! I fail to see how including them in a school library would be “requiring” your children to learn about other families. But regardless of your belief system, it is out there and are you going to deny children of these families books that they can relate to? Sins of the fathers so to speak? Not that I think loving someone is a sin. But you get my point. Also what are these historical events and documents that you are referring to? Because gay people can be Christian too, and some “historical” people were, in fact, gay. This list is not about historical events, this list is about fictional stories and picture books. Banning them is wrong! If you don’t like it, don’t read it!
Sidenote, my daughter was bullied by a supposedly “Christian” girl in the 3rd grade, because of her reading the entire Harry Potter series. This girl told my daughter she was not a Christian, and that Harry Potter was evil and so she was also evil. 3rd Grade! This went on for the whole month it took my kid to devour these books. Every day. We are Christian, despite people like that who really make a bad name for the rest of us.
What a fantastic and surprising post, thank you for sharing. I love the book about the penguins, not heard of it before, but sounds so cute! Will be seeing if I can find a copy in my local library.
I like Megan’s idea of a rating system for books, would be very useful, especially for parents who like to control what they expose their children to.
Be very cautious with the cute little penguin book. It’s about a zoo keeper that gave an extra egg to two male penguins as an experiment, but the author neglects to update his book with the truth. One of those males ended up mating with a female, so that book becomes mere propaganda for the homosexual agenda.
Great post! Thanks for sharing. It makes me want to go out and buy all these banned books.
Stop the lying–not a single one of those books are banned.
I too am amazed books still get banned! I love your book write ups, especially these! Thank you!!!
Not a single banned book can be named.
I am in favor of free access.
I think the question about exposure in school is interesting. While my personal beliefs are more traditional there are students at my children’s school that are not in traditional families and practicing different religious beliefs. Why should their families be excluded? Why should those kids have to learn about how my family acts? What about single parent families? Children living with grandparents? I think its really hard to draw a line where this book is banned but that one is not.
Abby…none are banned!
Interesting article. I get most of the controversies although do not agree but nakedness and farting? Farts are funny at my house and we couldn’t wait for the Walter series. But unfortunately only read them once. The farting wasnt the issue but the stories depicted concepts I didnt like introducing to my young daughter at bedtime. The first is about how Walter earns his place in the family by farting and knocking out a burglar who broke into the home at night while the family was home. A reality that for a young child that can be a terrifying thing to ponder at bedtime. Especially if your dog doesn’t fart!
Another book in the series Walter and the garage sale is equally horrible in that a bank robber wants to buy Walter from the Dad so he can have him fill balloons with his farts and walk into the bank pop the balloons and everyone passes out and he gets the money. Thats not the bad part. The Dad SELLS him then LIES to the kids about it saying he ran away. We spent lots of time talking about how that was a bad thing to do. But still mot the bedtime activity I enjoy.
That being said I am against book banning. There are books I dont like my child reading and that we avoid, but books are a good opportunity to teach about uncomfortable topics and need to be available. I always preread them now so I am not caught skipping sentences. (Try finding a book that teaches about the feeling of fear to a toddler when teaching about emotions that does NOT introduce the concept of monsters under the bed!)
At any rate I think book banning increases the likelihood of them being read. I know I want to get at least the books on this list now! It would be interesting to compare book banning to sales.
If are banned, how can you be reading them?
I love this list and I appreciate all your insight and honesty regarding them. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m going to go get some of these books! 🙂 I love to add to our children’s library!
Books being banned… again. How sad. I have read a couple of books on this list to my then first graders and kindergarteners. They understand it because we discussed it. I had the Draw Me A Star book and had to staple the pages where the nude pictures were due to them being nude. It was sad, also. We need to open up more about gay and lesbian lifestyles. It’s out there, it’s harmless, and kids should know about love.
I don’t believe in banning access to them (i.e library.) Just not included in school curriculum/classroom readings. There are plenty of books that teach respect, love, diversity etc., without getting into the more controversial issues. If you want to read these books to your children, go for it! The books being read in school by a teacher is another thing entirely.
What about books with Christian characters? Those should be banned from curriculems, then. Because Jewish children might be in those classrooms and we couldn’t have that. *eyeroll*
Where the Wild Things Are???? Seriously?
I know, right!
Gail Alvarez says
Thank you so much for this list! I am a lesbian and my partner and I have two boys. We have been wanting to look into books about families like ours and we definitely plan to hunt down a few from this list!
It’s pretty sad that you lost followers over this. Even worse is that you “fielded comments about you and your children.” I am a completely heterosexual, Christian mother and teacher and wish we had more books out there that celebrated our wonderful diversities. I, for one, can’t wait to share with my kiddos all about other families that don’t look exactly like ours. What a boring, beige world we would be in if we all looked the same.
Another thought I had was this…when does fantasy turn into witch craft? Is The Wizard of Oz the devil’s work also? I’m looking around my classroom and thinking if I had to get rid of all the books that had magical elements in them, my bookshelves would be pretty bare.
i didn’t even realise that books were banned! I want to go and get some of these to read to my son (2.5yrs) so that he learns all these difference in families.
I can understand though that some people might not like them read to their kids in school, and may prefer their own way to explain things to their children.
You running out to get them is the whole purpose of them lying about books being banned. Think about it readers, if they were banned you wouldn’t be able to get them…hello!
America has no business banning books. If they are truly inappropriate for children the schools should not by them. None of these books are evil. I have seen cartoons much worse on T.V. Different kinds of families exist. Get over it, you can not keep your children sheltered from the truth and why would you want to? Nakedness is not the same as pornography, everyone has a body and does not wear clothes all the time, It is only a big deal if you make it a big deal. Magic for children is using their imaginations. It isn’t evil unless somebody puts that spin on it and ruins it for them. It’s like taking away the Easter bunny, tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Leprechauns, and dragons. If you do not believe that way fine, but banned, crazy.
What’s up with all the gay books on here? I don’t believe gay marriage is right, therefore I definitely see why it (and all of the books you listed, except the alphabet one) are banned. Not that I think they should, and I would never ban them from my children, but I would rather read my child a non-graphic Holocaust picture book (i.e. Irena Sendler) than any of these.
Allison McDonald says
I know we are coming at this from very different places and I want to hear all views but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that this comment really makes me sad. Kids need to know about history but they also need to know about other families and see their own families in books. To prefer to read your child a book about genocide over one about love – just makes me sad.
I second that! How sad! 🙁 A non-graphic story of the Holocaust?!? That would be a very abbreviated story with a very depressing message for a young child.
People are confusing these books about family and love with pornography. These books are about love, not sex. Would you say a children’s book about “traditional” families are about heterosexuality? Are you already teaching your kids what a mommy and a daddy do in the bedroom?!! Then, why does it have to be considered what a daddy and a daddy do in theirs? No, these stories are just about love. Focus, people! Get your minds out of the gutters!!!
I edited this comment because it was hateful, packed with homophobia, and stereotypes. Debate banned books but hate will not be tolerated. ~Allison
That’s quite a list. I have to admit that most of those books will not be in our house. But, even as conservative as we are, I had no idea that people had problems with Where the Wild Things Are! That was one of my favourite books as a kid, and my kids love it too! I don’t think there’s “witchcraft” in it. It’s imagination! He’s annoyed that his mom sent him to his room so he pretends he escapes to an island where he gets to be king of the wild things. There are no spells cast, no witches or sorcerers, just good, ol’ imagination 🙂
Thanks for sharing! This was an interesting post to read.
Leigh Ann says
I’m glad I homeschool my kids and can help them find positive reads.
We’re glad you homeschool your kids too.
My girls (age 2 & 3) and I went to the library once a week all summer long – we’d check out 6-8 books at a time! I had a ball reading them new stories every week and talking about some of the lessons with my older daughter. Childrens books are such a wonderul tool to introduce new concepts in a gentle way. It makes me sad to think a few close-minded individuals hold the power to take these tools away from educators and parents like myself who are simply trying to instill love, acceptance, and a belief in a world full of possibilities.
Sorry for the negative feedback and for those who cut ties due to this sort of thing, but I love the list, and look forward to sharing many of these books with my daughter. We are UUs, so a lot of these are probably in the library of our church, or should be! I will be printing this list and keeping an eye out for them. Thank you!!!
I was surprised to learn there is a banned book list. Even more surprised to see which books were chosen to be banned. I have 3 children in elem. school and many of these books have been read to my children by their teachers at school. Some titles are new to me but several of these are old favorites on our bookshelf as well. We love books and the opportunities they bring for discussion in all disciplines from science, language arts, Arts, humanities, social studies, math, religion and most importantly social emotional. It is the greatest opportunity to open dialogs and share with one another our thoughts and ideas and in doing so to make connections and build empathy for each other.
I have read a lot of these books. I think people are going way to far and trying to read more into the story. Let’s just remember books are made to read to our children and as we read if the children you can change things with a little paint. I have changed books that we can not read about Halloween so I changed some of the picture.
We’ve already got a number of these. Thanks for sharing this list – some inspiration for future book shopping!
Sarah Meno says
I have read most of these books, and see no reason why any of them should be banned. I wouldn’t mind my child reading them at home or at school. I try to expose my daughter to as much magic and diversity I can.
I am kind of shocked that in the year 2013 there is still such a thing as banned books! I don’t believe any book should be banned. Parents can choose if they think a book is right for them or not (for example I am not too keen on the Animalia book [because it teaches letters and I am not into teaching letters !]) but it should be a parent’s decision and not someone from the outside telling what is right and what is wrong.
Billy, so when a teacher end-rounds the parent and reads what a parent doesn’t want their child exposed to. How’s that ok?
Awesome list – ordering the family book for my daughter asap. Thank you for sharing this – yay for love, kindness and tolerance. (p.s. those interested in christian history might want to check out the bible’s treatment of polygamy)
Fascinating list. Great to hear about some of these books (I like your mini reviews) and saddened but not surprised by some of the negative comments. Funny thing is that banning books often brings much more attention to them — in in with this list of which there are some I’d never even heard of but can now add to our reading list 😉
I’m straight. No one in my family is homosexual. I know quite a few people who ARE homosexual but they are busy being extremely successful people and parents and don’t spend a whole lot of time around my son. That being said, I spend a lot of time angry that I will have to explain why some of Mommy’s friends are different and I will never have to explain why Mommy is married to a man. I plan on buying each one of these books and keeping them in his room. He’s under a year now, but hopefully he’ll grow up seeing these books every day and will never think that my friends are odd or different. I’m Native American and I was raised that gays/lesbians were “special spirits” to be respected and cherished. It really saddens me to see all of the negative remarks. I expected them, but it still doesn’t hurt less to see so much hate from select people who claim to be from a religion that was supposed to be about loving and accepting one another.
Allison – you are a beautiful and wonderful parent. Your children are lucky.
Natalie Marrujo says
I know I already read Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen by Sendak. Although I researched for banned books, In the Night Kitchen being posted onto the list of challenged and banned books really ruined my childhood. It ruined it for reasons described in the book by editors and many complaints. Also, for Where the Wild Things Are, I agree with Missy!
Book lover says
Just came upon this list and had to post! We are a traditional family with “Christian” values. I don’t have an issue with most of the books on the list and have read and enjoyed several of them, especially Harry Potter! I’m glad there are books that give kids a feeling of normalcy and acceptance in our changing world. I would personally use some of these books to teach my children to love (as Jesus did) all people! I don’t want my elementary and middle school children reading the Twilight series for personal reasons. They are available at our public library and my daughter’s middle school library. I can’t imagine forcing my values on other families by banning these books from the library. It’s my job as a parent to set boundaries for my kids regarding what they watch, read, and listen to. I can’t remove these things from their world just because they don’t coincide with my values. I suspect some of the people who support banning books because it doesn’t jive with their values aren’t very happy about the sad removal of Christmas displays, songs, etc. in public places because it’s offensive to some.
Jesus taught that the old laws are dead. The laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. He taught love and acceptance. I believe he looks at all of us with love. Who he may take issue with are the bigots and intolerant who call themselves Christian. I will read these books to my grandchildren. I hope they grow in love rather than hate.
No He didn’t, He said in Matt. 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
Commandment # 7 says…Thou shall not steal. The innocence of minor children is being stolen by librarians and teachers all over this nation.
I was shocked to read that some books get banned, growing up at communism I really thought banning books is thing of the past…amazing list definately will be searching for these books and introduce them to my children. Thank you for this great inspiration!
I’m saddened by all the hate comments on here. I’ve just ordered a bunch of these books. I’m always looking for ways to help my boys see the world through eyes of love, acceptance and kindness. Thank you for this post!
Allison McDonald says
You are very welcome!
Well, I’m glad to see so many of my all time favourite books on this list