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10 controversial kids' books

On International Children's Book Day, find out why these titles have been challenged or banned.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Apr 2, 2013 6:19PM

Books are banned every day. Typically, school libraries, parent organizations, churches, religious groups and school boards are the first line of attack against books, reports The Huffington Post.

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The American Library Association has more than 10,676 challenges on record. “Sexually explicit content” tops the list of reasons why children’s books are banned, followed by “offensive language” and “violence.”

Wrinkle in Time // Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Here are 10 popular children's classics and the reasons why attempts were made to remove them from circulation, according to "Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read,” 2010 edition, by Robert P. Doyle:

The book: "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine C. L'Engle

The problem: In 1996, a parent requested the book be pulled from a school library because it allegedly undermines religious beliefs.

The book: "Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm" by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm K. Grimm

The problem: It was challenged in 1994 for racism and violence, then restricted at some elementary schools due to its excessive violence, negative portrayals of female characters and anti-Semitic references.

The book: "Hansel and Gretel" by Jacob Grimm

The problem: The story was challenged in 1992 because it teaches children that it is acceptable to kill witches and paints witches as child-eating monsters.

The book: "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling

The problem: Since 1999 to the present day, multiple attempts have been made to remove the books from schools and public libraries due to themes of witchcraft, wizardry, cults, Satanism, death, hate and dark content.

The book: "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl

The problem: In 1999, the book was banned from an elementary school because it contains the word "ass."

The book: "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis

The problem: The book was challenged in 1990 because it depicts "graphic violence, mysticism and gore."

The book: "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen

The problem: In 1994, an edition with illustrations of bare-breasted mermaids was challenged because it was "pornographic" and contained "satanic pictures."

The book: "Little Red Riding Hood" by Jacob Grimm

The problem: In 1991, a teacher initiated a complaint that the book was violent because of the actions of the wolf. The teacher questioned the appropriateness of the little girl taking wine to her grandmother and her grandmother later drinking the wine.

The book: "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss

The problem: In 1989, the book was challenged because it "criminalizes the foresting industry."

The book: "Snow White" By Jacob Grimm

The problem: In 1992, the story was restricted to students with parental permission at some public school libraries because of its graphic violence: a hunter kills a wild boar, and a wicked witch orders Snow White's heart torn out.

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The bottom line: Does banning books protect children?

 “As a parent and teacher, I've found that placing a book under censorship causes most kids to search it out and read it,” Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben wrote in a Yahoo article. “Banning is great advertisement for kids and especially adolescents.”

Tell us: Do you think banning books protects children?

Bing: Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century

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Apr 5, 2013 11:32PM

some of the books are controversial because of people "religions"....

Apr 4, 2013 1:47PM

Nothing should be banned, but put into age appropriate groups.  This would require diligence on the part of the parents (good luck with that).  Btw, is the Bible on the banned list?  It has some awful stories, but some people think that's ok while Harry Potter is not.  That drives me crazy.  Please excuse me while I take a ride on my hippogriff to meet with my friends for second breakfast before we travel through the wardrobe.

Apr 3, 2013 7:26AM
The Many versions of the "Bibles" (Hebrew, Christian and Islamic)  should as well be challenged and banned for the same reasons that 85% of books are banned.  They include references of torture, rape, murder, and incest as well as battles seductions sodomy, homosexuality, prejudice, hate and of course a collection of imagined peoples and creatures that are destined to torment young people's minds until they accept one version or the other.  And that is just in the first dozen mini-books.
Hysteria! None of these books hold a candle to the violence on Sponge Bob or other children's cartoons!
Apr 3, 2013 6:51AM

I think that it is our responsibility to our children to allow them to read books and learn and challenge ideas.  Not everything is going to be safe and perfect.... If you talk to your children about whats real and allow them to have questions then we raise smart quizzical little people that have learned thoughts and ideas from many sources and not just the ideas certain groups think they should see and read. My love of reading comes from reading fantasy books with far fetched ideas it allowed me to imagine somethng more...


Apr 3, 2013 6:47AM

Being a person who has always enjoyed reading I took it upon myself to get some more information on this whole book banning.

According to the American Library Association list of top 100 books that were challenged in the last decade that caught my eye


Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

and ironically

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Apr 3, 2013 5:10AM
Albert Einstein said that :if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales, If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales" how can they try and stunt creativity by banning books. I've read most of the books on this list and I enjoyed them immensely as a kid! They taught about friendship, family, and love and strength. How can people be so closed as to try and ban them? Books are just someone else's dreams put onto paper. Let children dream! 
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