Censorship by Mom and Others


Was Trina Schart Hyman’s Little Red Riding Hood banned for violence? After all, the grandmother was eaten by the wolf. Nope. Instead, someone was concerned the wine bottle in the basket encouraged underage drinking.

Where the Wild Things Are challenges started from the time it was published. One reason resonates with me. The book shockingly features a child who yells at his mother. My mother did not censor this book but she did ban it from bedtime reading. Apparently, it made my brother wild. Instead of going to sleep, Kevin turned into a romping monster. He may have even yelled at his mother.

Do you know the title of the poetry book among the most banned books in the 1990’s? A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. It’s been read by millions of children throughout the world. Oh, the sweet taste of forbidden poems.

My personal favorite banned book is Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. It was briefly banned by the Texas State Board of Education. They confused its author, Bill Martin, Jr., with philosopher Bill Martin, author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.

When I was in elementary school, my mom served on the committee tasked with reading challenged media center books. Whenever a book was challenged, a copy would be sent home in a sealed, golden mailing pouch via me. This was unnecessary, as often times I read the book.

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier was challenged for profanity. The irony is the challenger’s child signed my yearbook that year, “Remember the trees, remember the grass, remember me the pain in the ass.”

I don’t remember the outcome of the challenge. Hopefully, one of mom’s friends can recall. It’s a story to share with ML when she is older.

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