of Childhood: Six Centuries of Children’s Literature
at the de Grummond Collection
June - September 2000
Blubber by Judy Blume; Dell, ,
in Ohio and Wisconsin because the character who taunts an
overweight classmate is never punished. Challenged in Montana
because of offensive language.
Restricted in Lindenwold, New Jersey elementary school library
because of language. Banned, but later restricted in Peoria,
IL and Hanover, PA because of strong sexual content and language.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, illustrated
by Donna Diamond; Crowell, 1977.
Challenged by parents in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nebraska,
Kansas and Maine due to the use of swear words and references
to sorcery and witchcraft.
Call Me Charley by Jesse Jackson;
Dell, 1967, c 1945.
Parents of a black fourth-grade student filed suit against
Grand Blanc, Michigan school officials in 1979 after a teacher
read this book to their son’s class. They objected to
one of the characters, a white boy, calling a black child
“Sambo,” “nigger,” and “coon.”
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael
Willhoite; Alyson Wonderland, 1990.
Challenged at numerous public libraries from 1992-1994 because
it “...promotes homosexuality and is offensive.”
Removed from the Brooklyn, NY school district curriculum (1992)
because the school board objected to words that were “age
inappropriate.” Moved from the children’s section
of the Fort Worth, TX public library, the Manatee, FL public
library, and the Mercer County Library System in Lawrence,
The Day They Came to Arrest the Book: A Novel
by Nat Hentoff; Delacorte Press, 1982.
Students and faculty at a high school become embroiled in a censorship case
over “Huckleberry Finn.”
Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs;
Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973.
Removed from all elementary classrooms in Holland, Michigan
in 1979 after several parents complained that the book portrays
Santa Claus as having a negative attitude toward Christmas.
Giver by Lois Lowry; Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Temporarily banned from classes by the Bonita Unified School
District in California in 1994 after four parents complained
that violent and sexual passages were inappropriate for children.
Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone
(1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001),
and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
(2003) by J. K. Rowling; Scholastic.
The bestselling Harry Potter series topped the American Library
Association’s 1999 List of Most-Challenged Books, issued
January 18, 2000. The series was attacked by parents and others
concerned about the books’ focus on wizardry and magic.
In Zeeland, Michigan District Superintendent Gary Feenstra
issued an executive order requiring parental permission for
students grades 5-8 to check out the books from the school
library. The issue was dropped when the School Board refused
to consider it on their February 2000 agenda. The meeting
was attended by approximately 100 citizens, where more than
half of the speakers were against Feenstra’s directive.
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea
Newman; In Other Words, 1989.
Challenged in Arizona,
Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina
for promoting the idea that homosexuality is okay.
In 1993 the book was moved from the children’s section
to the adult section of the Elizabethtown Public Library in
North Carolina because it “promotes a dangerous and
ungodly lifestyle from which children must be protected.”
Three state legislators in 1993 wanted the book removed
from the regional library system in Gainesville, Georgia saying,
“We could put together a resolution to amend the Georgia
state constitution to say that tax dollars cannot be used
to promote homosexuality, pedophilia, or sadomasochism.”
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice
Sendak, Harper & Row, 1970.
Challenged in Illinois, Texas, New Jersey because of nudity.
Challenged in the Elk River, Minnesota schools in 1992 “because
reading the book could lay the foundation for the future use
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead
George; Harper, 1972.
Challenged in Missouri in 1982 because of the book’s
“socialist, communist, evolutionary and anti-family
Naomi in the Middle by Norma Klein,
pictures by Leigh Grant; Dial Press, 1974.
Restricted in Brockport, NY in 1977 to students with parental
permission. Challenged in Orlando, FL in 1980 and Charlotte,
NC in 1986 because the book “is a perfect picture of
secular humanism.” In 1980 the book was banned in Monroe,
LA because “it is not our intention to have objectionable
materials on our library shelves.”
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig; Windmill Books, 1969.
In 1977, the Illinois Police Association wrote to librarians
asking them to remove the book because its characters, all
shown as animals, present police as pigs – though in
favorable portrayals. Similar problems were reported in 11
Step Out by James Marshall; Houghton Mifflin,
Challenged in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1984 because it “encourages
Removed from school libraries in Vancouver, Washington and
Horsham, Pennsylvania because “it described families
in a derogatory manner and might encourage children to disobey
their parents,” and because the book makes parents look
like “boobs” and undermines authority.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine
L’Engle; Ariel Books, 1962.
in Anniston, Alabama schools for sending a mixed signal to
children about good and evil. The complainant also objected
to listing the name of Jesus Christ along with the names of
great artists, philosophers, scientists and other religious
In 1991 the book was challenged by a parent and pastor in
El Paso, Texas because of its New Age religious basis, stating
it would produce “confusion, anti-family and anti-Christian
Parents in Rialto, California objected to the book being
in the sixth-grade reading curriculum since it was a frightening
book that encourages one to believe in make-believe.
American Libraries, Volume 31:
Nos. 1 & 2, January 31, and February 28, 2000.
Banned Books Week 1988: Celebrating the Freedom
to Read, by Robert Doyle; ALA, 1988.
Hit List: Frequently Challenged Books for Children,
Donna Reidy Pistolis, Editor; ALA, 1996.
INTERNET SITES FOR THE STUDY OF CENSORSHIP
American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom
100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-2000 http://www.ala.org/bbooks/top100bannedbooks.html
Banned Books Online Website
Kay Vandergrift Censorship Links http://scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/censorship.html
Judy Blume Talks about Censorship
Robert Cormier Censorship Issues http://www.bridgewater.edu/~atrupe/ENG350/robert_cormier.htm
Harry Potter Censorship Issues http://childrensbooks.about.com/library/weekly/aa070200a.htm
The de Grummond Collection has many resource files with information
on authors, illustrators, and subjects. Please ask for them
at the 3rd floor reference desk in McCain Library. These names
do not appear in the online catalog, but can be accessed through
the de Grummond Collection vertical file index on the website..