Surprising Reasons Why Books Have Been Banned


You have probably heard about banned books. Even though I have heard of the concept throughout the years, I never investigated it until recently. What I found is that banned books are those that have been removed from libraries or school curriculums because of their controversial content such as sexuality, violence, or political bias, just to name a few. Although some of these reasons sound valid, there are instances where the motives were shocking or didn't make sense. Here is a list of surprising books that have been banned.

  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


Let's start off with one of the most popular books out there. J. K. Rowling’s series follows a young orphan boy who learns he is a wizard and is accepted to one of the best wizarding schools—Hogwarts. I grew up with this series, and I was pretty surprised to see it on various banned books lists because I never thought anything wrong of it. For me, it was just a fantasy book. Although this series may have many reasons to be banned, from the language to the violence, in the end it has been censored over one reason: religion. Many schools and religious groups deemed these books inappropriate because they promote witchcraft, which is a no-no in Catholic communities. Even though this book has been protested against throughout the years, no one can deny that it has influenced a lot of young people to read and be excited about reading.  

  • Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park


Barbara Park’s books center on the adventures of Junie B. Jones, a bright, fun-spirited, and friendly kindergarten student. This one was also surprising for me as well since I grew up reading these books and I remember loving them and re-reading them many times throughout my childhood. For many groups, the protagonist is an inappropriate role model because of her bad grammar and disrespectful attitude. However, I think these books were a lot of fun to read. Her character was believable and charming, and these books always taught lessons like being respectful or be true to yourself, while being entertaining.

  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank


The Diary of Anne Frank has been a debated text for years as it is composed of entries written by Anne Frank while her and her family were in hiding during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands. This book is heavy and hard to read because of the context behind it, but this is not the reason why some schools have censored it. Parents have claimed that this book is unsuitable for their children because of the sexual nature of a passage where Anne Frank discusses her anatomy. Regardless, it has been defended every time because of its cultural importance and power in today’s world.

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Englet


A beloved book among many people, A Wrinkle in Time is no stranger to banned books lists. This is the story of Meg, who along with her brother Charles, is transported on a journey through time and space. So why was such a cherished novel banned and censored throughout the years? The answer is its fantastical elements and depiction of religion. Many conservatives claim that the fantastical elements of this novel are not appropriate to teach. Others have heavily criticized the authors supposed depiction of religion. However, none of these claims have prevented the success of the novel.

  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson


Another popular entry in banned books lists, this book tells the the story of a friendship of two ten-year-olds, Jess and Leslie. This book is a heavy read and it's painful, but somehow these are not the reasons why it was banned. Some groups have criticized the witchcraft in the story—which is minimal. Others have censored it because of the presence of atheism in the story; Leslie’s parent are atheists, so Leslie has never gone to church nor believes in it. Finally, the presence of swearing turned off some parents. Although the book may be sad and heartbreaking for readers, I think it has many important lessons that overshadow these other elements that some groups have decided to focus on.

  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


A classic that has been frequently banned, this the true story of two male penguins that hatched and adopted a baby penguin that was later named Tango. This cute story has been constantly protested by parents because it “promotes” homosexuality. It has also been censored because of debates of homosexuality in animals. Nevertheless, critics have praised this book for its ability to introduce homosexuality to younger audiences and has won multiple awards.

Surprised? I know, me too. I know books will always be constantly challenged and banned for many reasons, but sometimes their motives don’t make sense. As these examples show, some groups and parents don’t take the time to read and learn about the book before deeming it inappropriate.These people should learn to be more open-minded, let their children learn about the world, and truly read the book before jumping to conclusions.