Banned Books Throughout History

September 26−October 2, 2016
Banned Books Week
is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Moreover, one of my favorite trilogies, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman was almost banned once. The Catholic League campaigned against The Golden Compass / Northern Lights, declaring that it promoted atheism and attacked Christianity…Well, that it did I guess.

On fantasy & how it encourages difficult behavior: Reading Harry Potter books makes children MENTALLY ILL says headmaster who warns letting them become ‘addicted’ to fantasy novels is as bad as feeding them ‘heaps of sugar’. My favorite part was how it’s all “demonic literature”…

What are your favorite books that have been banned or almost banned?

Found this infographic via: Also check this out: How to Defend Your Right to Read (with memes)

49 thoughts on “Banned Books Throughout History

  1. Great post. Interesting to know some of the books that have been banned and the ridiculous reasons why:-) I am surprised that The Satanic Verses has been banned in Kenya though. It is in libraries and in bookshops. Book banning just seems so wrong though.

    1. Yeah! It’s crazy! I basically get why they’d ban books in atheistic Soviet or in Turkey in fear of communism but Call of the Wild…and Harry Potter? I see, well it wouldn’t be the first time that the graph was wrong about something :D or maybe ban is not so serious.

  2. I did a Banned Books post this week as well. Some of the reasons books have been challenged are both ridiculous and sad at the same time. One of my favorite things as a reader is to experience new perspectives through the books that I read.

    Last year, one of the books that I featured on my blog today, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, was challenged by a few parents at my daughter’s elementary school. I don’t know if they asked for it to be removed, but the school librarian was giving warnings to parents when their child checked it out of the library, because there had been a few complaints about the subject matter.

    1. I had no idea that in US (?) it is so common to challenge books because topics in them might not be “appropriate” before I read your blog post! And that’s one of the things I value as reader as well!

      I do think it’s good that parents and librarians & school librarians check what kids read and give their warnings about SOME books. By some books I mean that I read very much as a kid and I think when 4-5 grader is about to borrow Four past Midnight by Stephen King (or some of his other books with sick sex scenes) from local library someone should have said something to me…Or American Psycho. Or few other ones.

      Because there’s a BIG difference between what is teaching kids about diversity (like Telgemeier’s Drama) and what is inappropriate for young readers.

  3. I remember in the 1960s when the “Tarzan” books were banned from the Public Library because Tarzan and Jane weren’t married. Ironically, I was living in Tarzana, CA at the time and had an interesting conversation with the local librarian about it.I believe “Alice in Wonderland” was banned in the 70s especially because of the caterpillar and his hookah. It’s interesting how people’s viewpoints change during the years.

    1. :D I keep hearing more and more and more ridiculous reasons for books being banned! In that case I think it’s kind of funny that they didn’t ban Sherlock Holmes as well as Holmes occasionally used addictive drugs when he didn’t have any interesting cases.

  4. While it is obvious why some of the books were banned, others aren’t so obvious. Green Eggs and Ham? Seriously? Guessing the reason why Animal Farm was banned for going against Islamic values is that it features a pig that overthrows the human farmer and takes control. :p

    Great information! I’d love to know how to create these kind of infographics. Also, I love His Dark Materials too.

    1. Very not obvious. I wonder if they just wanted to ban something because they didn’t like it so they didn’t want anyone else to read it.
      Yes, I’m a big fan of infographics as well! :D Happy to meet a fellow Pullman fan!

      1. Makes me think of TV Tropes and the trope Steisand Effect. If something is banned or hidden, people will want to look for it to see what the fuss is about and why it was banned in the first place. Very much a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        Yup, must read the Pullman books again. :)

  5. Oh yes, I covered the Harry Potter one a while back. I love how the headmaster suggests having a special license for fantasy and that children should read wholesome texts like Shakespeare which 1: is meant to be performed not read and 2: often features death, magic, fantastical things, violence and more death.

  6. Reblogged this on sherriemiranda1 and commented:
    You may notice a pattern here! Most banned books are bestsellers! Hmmm, maybe mine will get banned … ;-) <3
    Also "Nineteen Eighty Four" almost came true! We had Double Speak & crazy leaders. The only thing we didn't have is TVs that could see us, the viewers. That is, as far as I know … Yikes, the thought of it gives me the creeps! ;-) <3
    Peace, love & banned books for all,
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too. You can go to her Home page to watch it:
    Or you can see it on YouTube: 😉 ❤

  7. Just got back from a week + of non-blogging!
    Those banned booked lists fascinate me. While I can understand theocratic dictatorships wanting to ban writing that criticises their version of God/Gods – it’s all about control, isn’t it? – it really is incomprehensible why supposedly enlightened societies should do so, whatever the reason. There is some sense in permitting schools to decide what to include in their school libraries, or which books NOT to recommend their students to read – but that’s not really the same thing as a COUNTRY banning, or trying to ban them.
    There are two quite different strands of censorship here: at one extreme a legal ban, ie where breaching it will invoke some sort of penalty; at the other, a group of adults such as a school board feeling that a particular book is unsuitable for this or that age group. I can well remember that the list of books I was encouraged (indeed, forced) to read at school was very different (I am glad to report) from what I usually read at home with my parents’ full knowledge and support.

    1. Great! How was your ‘working’ holiday?
      I guess under some dictatorships, of course, masses are easier to control without them having all the information. I think it’s funny that some group of parents should decide what kids read and don’t read. I feel like it should be only the job of librarian or school teachers or whoever purchases the books for the school.

      1. Yes. I was a school governor for several years and know that parents can be funny sometimes. Maybe I was fortunate in having parents who supported my reading efforts. Some don’t encourage their children to read enough but are only too keen to tell them what NOT to read. [I can remember my dad saying I could read Lady Chatterley if I wanted but that actually it was a very badly written novel. :-)

  8. What an interesting post, I didn’t realise some well-known classics have been banned in specific countries. Nowadays, books that criticize the communist regime or the leaders are also banned in China as the Chinese government would like to strengthen its grip towards the public, they could only be reached and read in Hong Kong or other parts of the world.

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