13 Children’s Book Series That Are Now Banned for Their Inappropriate Themes

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Nothing can ignite a child’s imagination faster than storybooks. These books were once bedtime favorites, filled with our favorite characters and their adventures. However, what passed off as excellent writing when we were kids could now be considered inappropriate for today’s generation. Here are 13 children’s book series that are now banned for inappropriate themes.

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Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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The ‘Hunger Games Series’ by Suzanne Collins portrays a dystopian society where children are forced to participate in deadly games so that they can survive. While it has been appreciated for delivering the concept, with good storytelling on societal issues and strong, complex characters, people might not want their young kids to learn about violence and dark themes at such a tender age.

Scary Stories to Tell by Alvin Schwartz

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‘Scary Stories to Tell’ was written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. If the title isn’t apparent, it told chilling tales and carried eerie illustrations to make a mark in the children’s horror literature market. It faced many bans due to concerns about the content being too disturbing for young children, leading to nightmares and fear.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

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Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is a trilogy with philosophical and religious themes. The series includes ‘The Golden Compass,’ ‘The Subtle Knife,’ and ‘The Amber Spyglass,’ which explore complex matters related to the nature of consciousness and criticism of organized religions. However, it faced many bans for condemning its perceived anti-religious messages. Parents didn’t want children to learn about communalism and religious hatred at a young age.

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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‘Captain Underpants’ is a very popular book written by Dav Pilkey. It is known for its humor and imaginative storyline. It follows the story of two mischievous boys who create a superhero named Captain Underpants. While it appealed to young readers, it was banned because of its toilet humor, which was perceived as disrespectful of authority and crude language. 

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

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‘A Light in the Attic’ was a poetry collection by Shel Silverstein that charmed readers with its appealing illustrations and playful verses. However, it was banned for numerous reasons, including encouraging misbehavior and rebellion against authority. Some people did not want their children to learn about disrespectful attitudes and dangerous behaviors against authority.

Are you There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blame

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‘Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ was a groundbreaking children’s novel by Judy Blame, which also received a live-action movie depiction. It addressed the complexities and anxiety issues faced by a young teenager exploring puberty, religion, and identity. However, while it is appreciated for portraying the reality of a girl’s journey in one place, it’s criticized for candid discussions about menstruation and adolescent gender identification. Many teachers and parents considered it too explicit for young readers, leading to its ban everywhere.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

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Shel Silverstein wrote another piece, ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends. ‘ Like the preceding one, it’s a poetry collection that explores themes of rebellion and disrespect for authority. People have refrained children from reading it because its content is perceived to encourage behavior that is considered inappropriate for children, like breaking the rules or questioning authority figures.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

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‘And Tango Makes Three’ is a picture book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell that features the true story of two male penguins who thought of adopting a baby penguin at Central Zoo Park and starting the journey together. Easy enough to understand, it faced bans because of the depiction of same-gender or gay relationships. People refrain from reading such content, especially for children, as they do not want to promote this viewpoint of family structure.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss

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‘A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,’ written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by E.G. Keller, features the story of a gay rabbit. Many criticize it for telling such things and preventing their children from reading such content, which has led to its ban in various schools. At the same time, others praise it for bringing up such a controversial and stereotypical topic in people’s conversations.

Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

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The next one in the ‘Captain Underpants’ series is ‘Adventures of Captain Underpants’ written by Dav Pilkey. It features the adventures experienced by Captain Underpants with Ook & Gluk, Kung-fu cavemen from the Future. People criticized the depiction for perpetuating racial stereotypes, and it happened so much that Pilkey and his publisher also released a public apology for the book’s portrayal of East Asian characters. It led to the book being removed from many shelves and banned in many places. 

The Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

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Written by Barbara Park, ‘The Junie B. Jones’ famous protagonist has faced band in many schools due to concerns about her frequent grammatical errors and sassy attitude. They believe it sets a poor example for young readers, and children might mimic her disrespectful behavior and incorrect language. At the same time, some people support the realistic portrayal of a young child’s perspective.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

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‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Seuss is a popular book that has faced much criticism over the years. The main reason is that it is politically charged. For the same reason, it has seen bans in some schools and libraries. Even though it has a strong environmentalist message, critics argue that it might attack the logging industry and promote a particular political viewpoint.

Bone by Jeff Smith

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The ‘Bone’ series is a graphic novel by Jeff Smith that has faced bans because of its violent content and mature themes. According to some parents and educators, it depicts fantasy violence and occasionally dark themes that might not suit young minds.

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