Banned Books that may be on your Summer Reading List, part one

Stella is getting ready for summer fun and luckily (to my heart’s delight) that includes trips to the library and reading in the car, on the couch, during vacation and more.

As we were checking out books in the library we found this book – Silenced in the Library: Banned Books in America – that caught our attention.

Stella was shocked to find out that some of her favorite books are mentioned in the book – mainly the Harry Potter series – but that did not come as a big surprise to me since I was teaching 5th and 6th grades when the series was being published and heard all the arguments against sorcery, wizards, and witches.

But there were several surprises. The following books series have been challenged or banned in schools and/or libraries in America’s history.

DId You Know_


Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey – ranked Number One on the American Library Association’s list of “Most Challenged Books” in 2012 – Challenged because of jokes dealing with bodily functions and that it encourages disrespectful and bad behaviors among its young readers.

Goosebumps by R.L. Stine – While overall considered tame, the series was challenge “for having Satanic Themes” – Decision was to keep the books

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park – Challenged because June B. talks back disrespectfully to adults and due to writing and spelling errors in her diary entries and speech.

Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford – listed in the top one hundred “Most Challenged Books” from 1990 to 2000 – although the books as no text in the very first book there was a topless women in one of the images.

Do any of these reasons surprise you?

As a mom, I always talk with my daughter about what she is reading and make sure that developmentally it is appropriate for her.  This is important for any parent to do.  But, as an educator, censorship of any reading material for whole groups of people is something I do not support.  And as I type this I should note I am watching HBO’s adaptation on Fahrenheit 451!

If you are looking for ways to spice up Summer Reading for your students, introducing a book that you mention was banned or disliked by adults may be an interesting way to entice a reluctant reader. 
You can also take part in our Summer Reading Scavenger Hunt Challenge!

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