We read banned books at BCPL! Book challenges, bans, and burnings have been happening for centuries. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom began tracking censorship attempts twenty years ago. In 2022, the highest number of books were challenged or banned since ALA began their documentation. As of August 30, 2023, ALA has documented 1,915 attempts to censor books this year alone!

Reasons for banning books run the gamut. Here are some real (and silly) reasons books have been banned/challenged.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Banned/Challenged: discusses menstruation.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Banned/Challenged: is a “real downer”.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Banned/Challenged: encourages kids to break dishes.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Banned/Challenged: portrays unnatural depictions of animals speaking and acting like humans.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

Banned/Challenged: mistaken for a book by another author named Bill Martin.

Harriet the Spy by Louis Fitzhugh

Banned/Challenged: teaches kids to lie and spy.

Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm

Banned/Challenged: mentions Little Red Riding Hood carrying a bottle of wine in her basket.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Banned/Challenged: encourages disruptive behavior.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Banned/Challenged: features a bear who doesn’t wear pants.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Banned/Challenged: has too much magic.

This Banned Books Week, join BCPL as we celebrate the freedom to read. Check out all of the above books from your favorite BCPL location!

Stella is a native Northern Kentuckian and serves as the Community Events Liaison for BCPL. Outside of work she loves to hike, read, craft, and play with her two cats: Moss and Margaret.

For more information:

Banned Books Week is a Celebration! by Carrie Herrmann

Intellectual Freedom by Carrie Herrmann

BCPL’s Banned Books Week video