This week I’m reading The Lorax, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach to observe Banned Book Week. Yes, I’ve read this Dr. Seuss title before, but must admit that somehow I missed these two Roald Dahl books. Banned Book Week offers the opportunity to catch up!
Dr. Seuss’s classic story tells of the utter destruction of Truffula trees and its devastating effect on the environment. In 1989, it was banned by a school district in California on the basis that it “criminalized the foresting industry.” Children might think logging was bad. But shouldn’t children be allowed to read and form their own opinions? What about Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet, a book beloved by my own children? Did anyone challenge this book that showed the effects of development on the environment?
A Colorado library banned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for this reason - it embraced a “poor philosophy of life.” The book was called racist due to the factory workers’, the Oompa Loompas, skin color. So Dahl changed the description making them white in a revised edition.
In the early 1990s, James and the Giant Peach was banned from an elementary school in Texas because it contained curse words such as “ass.” In 1986 some religious groups in Wisconsin took exception to a scene where a spider licks her lips. They argued this scene could be sexual and the book was banned.
What are some of your favorite children’s books that have made the banned books list? Exercise your freedom this week and read a banned book! http://www.ala.org/bbooks/