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Banned Books

Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stormy Weather Books is an associate of

Stormy Weather Joins Muggles for Harry Potter

I also urge everyone reading this site to do the same. Folks, the people of Family Friendly Libraries are working to remove JK Rowling's Harry Potter books-- Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and the as-yet-untitled Harry Potter #4-- from library shelves all over the USA. For those without kids, pick up the books anyway, I heartily reccommend them as an addition to anyone's library. Personally, I found them wonderful reading, of the same caliber as Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, and CS Lewis' Narnia books (click here for a complete listing)

Current (last 10 years)




In Association with


Current (last 10 years)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou

Objections to this autobiographical novel center on the vivid description of a rape she suffered as a child. Also said to not "represent traditional values."

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

In 1993, this dystopian novel was removed from the Chicopee, Mass. High School English class reading list because it contains profanity and sex.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Censor a book about censorship and burning books? Sounds bizarre, yet in 1992 at the Venado Middle School in Irvine, CA, students received copies of the book with scores of words (mostly "hells" and "damns") blacked out. After receiving complaints from parents and being contacted by reporters, school officials said the censored copies would no longer be used.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"Conflicting with values of the community."

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (by John Cleland) was finally cleared of obscenity charges in 1966 by the U.S Supreme Court. Since its original printing in 1749, this story of a prostitute is known has been a target for censors and suppressors, both for its frank sexual descriptions and its parodies of contemporary literature, such as Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders.

Ann Frank--Diary of a Young girl

For her thirteenth birthday, Anne Frank's parents gave her a diary. "I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support." Just one month later (July 1942), Anne and her family went into hiding to escape from the Nazis. For the next two years, living in a cramped Amsterdam annex, Anne's writings filled two notebooks. To date, more than twenty-five million copies have been printed in fifty-five languages. Various reasons have been used to justify banning Anne Frank's acclaimed diary. In one 1983 incident, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for its removal because it was a "real downer."

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller Published in 1961, Heller's novel has been both lauded-- "This novel is not merely the best American Novel to come out of WWII; it is the best American novel that has come out of anywhere in years." [Nelson Algren]-- and heavily criticized. Whitney Balliet fo the New Yorker expressed distastess by griping it was filled with "sour jokes, stage anger [and] dirty words." The Strongsville City School district in Ohio opted not to purchase the book and also keep it from the school's library in 1972. The decision was finally resversed in 1976.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Only after supporters fought for the right to publish the book, was the 15-year ban (1918-33) on this title lifted.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Profanity, showing disrespect for authority are the themes that recurr each time this book has been challenged since its publication

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

  • Few books have seen as much notoriety as this classic. Burned by the St. Louis, Mo. Public Library in1939 and banned from the Buffalo, New York Public Library(1939) on the grounds that "vulgar words" were used.
  • Banned in Kansas City, MO in 1939; Kern County, CA, where it is set,
  • Challenged at the Moore County school system in Carthage, N.C. in 1986 because it contains the phase "God Damn."
  • Challenged in the Greenville, S.C. schools (1991) because the book uses the name of God and Jesus in a "vain and profane manner along with inappropriate sexual references."

Candide by Voltaire

  • Seized by U.S. Customs in 1930, with claims of obscenityVoltaire's critically hailed satire, claiming obscenity. Two Harvard professors defended the satire, and it was eventually admitted in a different edition.
  • In 1944, the US Post Office demanded its removal from a mailed Concord Books catalog.


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Challenged upon publication for showing a slave in an honorable role, and in later years as racist. Recently challenged in English classes at Taylor County High School in Butler, Ga. (1994) because of racial slurs, bad grammar and does not reject slavery.



Bridge to Terabitha by Katherine Paterson

  • challenged and removed from classrooms and school libraries due to “profanity, disrespect of adults, and an elaborate fantasy world that might lead to confusion."

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

  • Too dreary & negative.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

  • Challenged at the Xenia, Ohio school Libraries (1983) because the book is "anti-Christian, against parental and school authorities, and emphasized the use of drugs and sexual activities."
  • Challenged at the Big Bend Elementary School library in Mukwonago, Wisconson (1986) because some of Silverstein's poems "glorified Satan, suicide and cannibalism, and also encouraged children to be disobedient."

Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

  • Life in Spanish Harlem during the 1940's & 50's wasn't easy for Piri Thomas. His work describes a life wrought with gangs, drugs, sex and alchohol told in coarse language, and has been criticized for both. It was pulled from three junior high school libraries in 1971 by Community School Board No. 25 of Queen's County, New York. A citizen's group attempted to get a local judge to order the book be returned to the shelves but the judge upheld the school board's decision.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • Banned in the Sturgis, South Dakota elementary school classrooms in 1993 due to statements considered derogatory to Native Americans.
  • Challenged because the book is "offensive to Indians." at the Lafourche Parish elementary school libraries in Thibodaux, La. in 1993.



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This page last updated on 21 January 2000