30 Banned And Challenged Kids Books That Will Make You Feel Terrible About Humanity

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30 Banned And Challenged Kids Books That Will Make You Feel Terrible About Humanity

By Joanna Robinson | Station Agents | November 1, 2013 | Comments ()


Banned books week has come and gone this year so please excuse me for the lateness of the post but I was moved to write it in response to the fact that my favorite kids book of the year is currently undergoing censorship scrutiny. A pair of Minnesotan parents went through the magical Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and “counted 227 offending words, including 67 Gods, 24 Jesuses and 4 Christs” according to a 13-page report they filed. The other 133 words? That would be profanity of a far saltier variety. But if you’d bother to, oh I dunno, read the book, you’d discover the context. And the context is this, the profanity comes in the form of written bullying messages that terrorize our young female protagonist. They’re not f-bombs tossed around casually by the teenaged Park and Eleanor (who, by the way, don’t swear, smoke, drink or do drugs). The words are meant to be upsetting and provoking. I’ve already written about how beautiful I think this book is. About how I stayed up until three in the morning so I could finish it. So it breaks my heart on a personal level that the Minnesotan school district caved to prudish, ill-informed parental pressure and both the district and the public library cancelled the speaker’s fee they had offered Rowell to come speak to students. And when Rowell offered to come for free? They said no thank you.


Rowell was, according to her blog, absolutely devastated by this treatment. She wrote “When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible. That if you grow up in an ugly situation, your story isn’t even fit for good people’s ears. That ugly things cancel out everything beautiful.” I understand the desire for some parents to curb and control what their children read. I don’t, however, understand a vocal, reactionary minority attempting to control what other children are exposed to. So that the lovely Rainbow Rowell feels like she’s in good company, I’ve amassed this list of 30 well-loved Children’s books that have been banned or challenged. Many of them you know, some might be a surprise and, trust me, there are far more than 30 titles that could go on this list. But before we get to the books I want to make something clear. Just because it’s often Christian or Fundamentalist Groups who call for books to be banned and I’m firmly anti-censorship, that doesn’t mean I’m anti-Christian. Far from it. The list is also peppered with overly sensitive activists who, in my opinion, took political correctness too far.

Alice In Wonderland: You’ll see this reason crop up over and over again on this list but apparently it’s quite objectionable in certain countries to show animals talking. To wit (from China): “Animals should not use human language, and that it was disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.” Alice was also banned here in the US for, among other reasons, references to masturbation. I must have missed the part where The Caterpillar caressed his “hookah.”

Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Girl: This year (THIS YEAR) in New Hampshire, the Holocaust classic was challenged in Michigan for the following reasons: “It’s pretty graphic, and it’s pretty pornographic for seventh-grade boys and girls to be reading. It’s inappropriate for a teacher to be giving this material out to the kids when its really the parents’ job to give the students this information.” Though the book wasn’t banned in Michigan, it was briefly banned in Virginia in, wait for it, 2010.

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? : This one is very disappointing. Because they were so eager to ban author Bill Martin who wrote Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation, the Texas State Board Of Education accidentally also banned Bill Martin Jr. (no relation), the author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? Inspires confidence, no? Once again, this was 2010.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: Roald Dahl’s classic was initially challenged because the depictions of the Oompa Loompas (small, black pygmies) was deemed racist. Dahl, taken aback, changed the description of the Oompa Loompas in the revised 1988 edition to be “‘knee-high dwarves’ with ‘rosy-white’ skin and funny long ‘golden-brown’ hair who came from ‘Loompaland.’” That wasn’t enough for one Colorado librarian who locked the revised edition in the reference collection because “the book espouses a poor philosophy of life” and because Charlie has no “tremendously positive traits, only an absence of negative ones.” I’ll let Gene Wilder take this one.

Charlotte’s Web: Once again, it’s the old talking animals issue. This time in Kansas. The book was called “inappropriate subject matter for a children’s book.” That was in 2006. In 2003 an English Headteacher removed all books that featured pigs lest they potentially offend a Muslim student. The Muslim Council of Britain called the move “well-intentioned but misguided” and requested the books be reinstated. “Well-intentioned but misguided?” Putting it lightly.

Coraline: Rumors rumors everywhere that this Neil Gaiman book has been challenged or banned. It pops up on several lists. I haven’t been able to find the exact instance, however, so I’ll leave you with this charming Gaiman blog on banning and this even more charming Gaiman tweet.

The Dictionary: How would you? Why would you? Right here in California (Southern California, I’ll stress), the 10th edition was banned for daring to define “oral sex.” That was, once again, in 2010 which, apparently, was a banner years for bans.
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Fat Kid Rules The World: Challenged and banned in both South Carolina and Illinois in 2007 and 2008 for the admittedly mature content. It’s a shame because the message is so sweet and so poignantly delivered.

The Giver: This book was banned as recently as 1994 in Southern California for sexual situations and depictions of death, specifically euthanasia. Sure, death, let’s not talk about that.

The Giving Tree: Because the tree is overly compliant and, yes, giving and the boy is demanding and selfish this book has been called sexist.

Green Eggs And Ham: This book was banned in China for 1965-1991 for depicting “early Marxism.” While Seuss called himself “subversive as hell,” I really doubt this was his agenda.

Harriet The Spy: This book was challenged in the 1980s in Ohio for teaching “children to lie, spy, back-talk and curse.”
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Harry Potter: We all know this one. Harry Potter, the most beloved children’s series of the modern era, a series so potent it got even non-reading children to line up at midnight for its release, has been challenged and banned all over for promoting godless witchcraft.

His Dark Materials: Much like Harry Potter, the objection here is a religious one. Though I strongly disagree with the complaint, it is, in this instance, far more justified. Phillip Pullman’s beautiful trilogy does, yes yes, involve some kids on a mission to kill God (aka The Authority). So I can see how that might make some parents look askance. Though Pullman is vocally, frankly anti-organized religion, I don’t think he’s anti-faith. He’s said: “[I]n my view, belief in God seems to be a very good excuse, on the part of those who claim to believe, for doing many wicked things that they wouldn’t feel justified in doing without such a belief.” Regardless of your beliefs, I think the book creates such a luscious world and is such an interesting jumping off place for discussions of faith that it would be a shame to deny any child access.

James And The Giant Peach: There are a number of reasons why this whimsical adventure has been banned (racism! defying authority! drug use!) but this reason, from Wisconsin, has to be my favorite: “The Times of London reported that it was once banned in a Wisconsin town because a reference to a spider licking her lips could be ‘taken in two ways, including sexual.’” OKAY.

The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe: On the other side of the Harry Potter/His Dark Materials coin is this book which has been challenged by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. You know, on account of the Jesus Lion and all.

Little House On The Prairie: Once again, allegations of racism abound and many object to Wilder’s description of the Native Americans in this book. But if you ban the Little House books, how else will children learn to use every part of the pig? AND I MEAN EVERY PART.

Little Women: This is a funny one. Louisa May Alcott, a staunch feminist, wrote Jo March, one of the sassiest, smartest female characters in American fiction way back in 1869. Was the book challenged then for being too feminist? Possibly. But it’s been challenged more recently for not being feminist enough. Why? Because of that whole “Meg burns the jelly” chapter? Ye gods.
Little Women.jpg

The Lorax: Banned in 1989 in California for being too harsh on the logging industry. In this instance, Seuss knew exactly what he was doing.

Lord Of The Flies: One of the most frequently banned and challenged books the complaint here, of course, is violence.

Of Mice And Men: Not strictly a book for children, no, but often taught in schools, this book has been challenged and banned for over 50 years due to provocative language and violence. Another complaint is that the book is anti-business. Is it? Is Steinbeck responsible for a huge dip in the the rabbit farming industry?

The Outsiders: SE Hinton’s book has been challenged for drugs, violence and that old standby “unchristian values.” Stay gold, vigilant religious types.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: Just this year the great Judy Blume went to bat for this sexually explicit (and troubling) young adult novel which had been banned from a Chicago School District. Weirdly, the book’s most vocal opponent was The Illinois Christian Home Educators, a collection of parents who homeschool their children. I mean, why are they concerning themselves over what’s being taught in schools? Isn’t the whole point of homeschooling that you have full control over your child’s curriculum? Doesn’t homeschool render challenging and banning unnecessary?

Strega Nona: The book is seen as being as insidious as Harry Potter on the magic front. Look at that face. The face of corruption.

Sylvester And The Magic Pebble : This one is GREAT. The book was banned because the police characters are portrayed as pigs. That’s anti-cop! Ban it!

And Tango Makes Three: You know this story, right? Parks And Recreation did a while episode about it. Based on a true (TRUE) story of two male penguins in the New York Central Park Zoo who raised a baby penguin together. This charming picture book was the most challenged book of 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 with the group Focus on the Family Action calling it “very misleading…a very disingenuous, inaccurate way to promote a political agenda to little kids.” Based on a true story, folks. You can’t argue with biology.

Where The Wild Things Are: Though I’m not surprised to see that this book has been banned for “glorifying” Max’s tantrums and wild rumpus-ing, I was surprised to see that an author I love and admire, Bruno Bettelheim, famously denounced the book when it was released. Bettelheim is well-respected for his psychoanalytical take on fairy tales and said the following: “What’s wrong with the book is that the author was obviously captivated by an adult psychological understanding of how to deal with destructive fantasies in the child. What he failed to understand is the incredible fear it evokes in the child to be sent to bed without supper, and this by the first and foremost giver of food and security—his mother.” Basically, Bettelheim thought the book was too dark and upsetting. What on earth would he have made of Spike Jonze’s movie?

Winnie The Pooh: Oh this is the offensive talking animals and, horror of horrors, pig thing again. In a strange, non book-related bit of draconian policy, a 6th grader in Napa California was sent to a suspension program called Students With Attitude Problems because she wore a pair of Tigger socks to school which was against the dress code. Ah, that’s the terrible thing about Tiggers.

A Wrinkle In Time: First of all, Madeline L’Engle’s classic was rejected by 26 publishers because, according to the author, they disliked the notion of a female protagonist in a sci-fi fantasy novel. But the reason A Wrinkle In Time has been banned? The old “magic is bad, Jesus is good” argument courtesy of the Jerry Falwell ministries. Can’t they both be good, people?

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz: Ah, and last on our list we have Dorothy, Glinda and That Wicked Old Witch. Baum’s book has been banned all over the place but, famously, in 1986 a group of Tennessee families filed a lawsuit claiming that the presence of good witches (that would be Glinda) in the book imply that human attributes are “individually developed rather than God given” and that all witches are bad so the presence of a good witch is “theologically impossible.” I literally don’t even understand that argument and I would advise those particular families to seek out, oh, you know, some brains and a little heart.
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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Ben

    Ya know after seeing the Henry Sellick James and the Giant Peach, I'll totally pay that 'spider licking it's lips deemed sexual' the spider in that movie made me have strange pants feelings as a kid.

  • Salieri2

    I'm actually quite cheered up by the notion of someone trying to ban Little Women on account of that chapter about Meg's fucking jelly. Not that it should be banned, of course, but that someone was so irate about that damn chapter that they hiked up their pants and went after it. I have a lot of sympathy for the sentiment, if not the expression of it.

  • Strand

    I found Eleanor & Park heart-achingly sweet. As a guy in my mid-20s, I don't generally read YA romance, especially given that so much of the subgenre is airbrushed and Mills & Boone'd oblivion, and you can just tell they're written by middle-aged cat ladies.

    E&P captured every awkward, dizzying feeling I had with teenage love. It was a big Rosebud-sized fist that barrelled out of my past and sucker punched me. Maybe it was the fact the Park character was a word-for-word description of my high school years, down to the Eurasian family, hobbies and music, and my first love had more than a passing similarity to Eleanor. But by the end, it had the dubious honour of being the third ever work of fiction that made me bawl my eyes out. Fuck the Helen Lovejoys.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Beautiful. Perfect. I'm using this to convince everyone I know to read E&P.

  • Strand

    It was your YA article that convinced me to give it a shot. E&P's central couple was so refreshingly unconventional in a genre infested with Mary Sues.

    The male lead wasn't a blonde lantern jaw, or even the edgy, brooding foil who seems more in vogue these days, he wasn't even really white! He was someone like me. The girl wasn't a repulsive Bella Swan-type. She was poor as dirt, insecure as all teenage girls actually are, and overweight, without it being her single defining trait.

    After I finished, I had a fun time trying to think of how Hollywood would screw up the cast if they ever decided to adapt it. I decided they would either hire Rebel Wilson and turn it into an exploitative rom-com, or just just say 'fuck it' and go with the very lovely, but very wrong Emma Stone. Now I'm knees deep in Rowell's Fangirl.

  • The Mama

    Fangirl was the first one I read, which forced me to read E&P and Attachments like an alcoholic on a binge.
    And you're right... any movie they made would totally screw it up.

  • Irina

    If the Giving Tree had been a dude, they would have banned the book for depicting a gay pedophile's unnatural obsession with a young boy.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    Good. The Giving Tree SHOULD be banned. That book took my heart out through my mouth and stomped it into slime. Never in all my life have I felt like more of an ungrateful little brat than when I finished reading The Giving Tree. I'm getting weepy just typing the title. BAN ALL THE FEELINGS!

  • DarthBrookes

    I went to a Catholic school where The Simpsons were banned for being anti-family.

    We did have to read a book called Z for Zacharia which involves a girl of sixteen being raped. But the rape was explained (by the English teacher, not the book) as being necessary and "God's plan" for her, because she and the rapist might have been the last people on Earth (it's a post nuclear war novel) and this was a way that God could keep the human race going, whilst also allowing the girl to remain virtuous and chaste.

    The girl ends up going into the nuclear wasteland alone to get away from her rapist, presumably carrying his child, to start the human race in some other pocket of the world not blasted to radioactive dust.

    ... Having done a quick read up on the story online, it seems that the "rape" was in fact an attempted rape in the book. But at school, our teacher left no doubt that Ann has been "inseminated" by Loomis by the end of the novel. So. I guess that says a lot.

  • llp

    I am disappointed the library mentioned about did not support Rowell. What kind of library does not embrace the notion of intellectual freedom? Are they members of the ALA?

    This list is timely, in that I just today bought my children a copy of Sylvester, and I have a terrible hankering to go buy a copy of The Outsiders to replace my lost one. It is one of the books I need to reread every few years or so. Most of those books are kind of YA books and are on this list - Narnia, Harry Potter, The Outsiders.

  • Samantha Klein

    No no no. The LIBRARY supported Rowell. The media specialists in the library defended the book. The parents who had an issue with it wanted them to receive some kind of disciplinary action,even, (nothing happened) for their support of it. The school board was the problem.

  • llp

    But the article above states that the public library rescinded the fee and refused a free visit?

  • Samantha Klein

    I believe it was still pressure from the library board that resulted in that decision; libraries themselves are generally on the right side of this battle, but the library board is typically made up of non-library types. :(

  • llp

    True enough - I am a library board member myself, but that would be disappointing behaviour from a board as well. That is absolutely not the board's role or mandate, in my experience.

  • PDamian

    When I was a kid, I went to Catholic school. One of the nuns used to make lists of books she found objectionable and mail them home to parents with warnings not to let the kids read. My mom and I would then go to our local bookstore and buy every single one of them. God bless that nun, and God bless my mom. They gave me a love of literature that hasn't ever waned.

  • Germane to the subject, a quote from a perennial favorite: "How anybody expects a man to stay in business with every two-bit wowser in the country claiming a veto over what we can say and can't say and what we can show and what we can't show — it's enough to make you throw up. The whole principle is wrong, it's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't eat steak."

  • I read voraciously. My sons read a bit less avidly, partially because they game and I don't, but some of our greatest conversations have come from their excitement about the books they're reading. I cannot imagine telling them they can't explore other worlds and lives simply because they might be upset or confused or encounter ideas with which I don't agree. How insecure do you have to be to want other people to not read something because it threatens your world view?

    My kids have both read The Giver in English class. In rural Illinois. So even the third notch on the Bible Belt can allow for a little bit of magic.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    Jesus H. Fucklepuff! Harry Potter is not evil. The "witchcraft" in it is entirely fictional and not possible for one to actually practice no matter how many times I jump off my roof holding a broom.

  • The Mama

    Not only is Sylvester one of my favorite children's books, but I still have the PUPPETS that go with the book. So take that, stupid book banners.
    I own most of these books. My daughter has read the ones that are age appropriate, and the rest are on the list for when she's old enough.
    I don't understand people who try to ban books. If you don't like it, don't read it. What my child reads is none of your business. And not allowing your child to read it if they choose does them much more of a disservice than if they stumble across the F word.

  • Etaoin_Sherdlu

    Joanna, thanks for posting this. I spent many years as a bookseller, and Banned Books Week never failed to bring in the crazies from every side of this equation.

  • bleujayone

    I can say with pride that I have read each and every one of those books growing up and I will make damn sure my offspring will have them and many more such literary treasures to choose from in our personal library.

    And if anyone dares to try to deny us that joy and privilege you will see such outrage normally reserved to people expressing their objection for the regulating or banning of military grade firearms.

  • Bodhi

    I really, really want some asshole to pick a fight with me about banning Tommie DePaola. Or Madeline L'engle. Or any kids books, really. UGH I hate people

  • SandraStone

    Chicago students were honored by the Illinois Library Association last month for protesting the banning of Persepolis at their public high school, Lane Tech.


  • Sara S.

    People will always be looking to create controversy, no matter what age we're in. But I really will never be able to understand the logic behind censoring books. Especially children's books. Not to offend anyone, but the Bible contains some pretty offensive stuff too (slavery, death and such) but we're not banning that, are we? Why ban one thing if you're not going to ban another?
    Let's just not censor our young people's educations. If you limit a child and censor things to 'protect them', you're going to raise a generation of narrow-minded simpletons.
    (On a side note, Eleanor and Park is such a lovely book. I read it and cried, and I am not a sappy person. It's not a children's book, but that shouldn't mean it should be banned for everyone. If someone bans a book because they didn't want their 7 year olds reading it, they end up also banning a whole group of teens or young adults who wanted to read the book. Ridiculous.)

  • There have actually been attempts to ban the Bible in various venues and institutions.There are also entire countries where it's banned and/or severely restricted.

  • SandraStone

    Chicago public high school students were honored last month by the Illinois Library Association for protesting the Chicago School Board's banning of the book, Persepolis.

  • OMGLookPanda

    Oh man Strega Nona! I remember that book when I was just a kid! I completely forgot about it! Thanks Pajiba for reminding me about it!

  • The reasons for banning any of those books are silly, but the complaint against the Wizard of Oz really sticks out to me for some reason. They took issue with how the story implies that attributes are personally developed as opposed to God-given? What the hell? So then they'd object to anything that implies the human power of self-determination? I guess it just sticks out at me because the others are something like MAGIC or SEX. But PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT? I can't even.

  • This list makes me so sad. Not because there are fuckwits out there condemning and rejecting books on the basis of their own tortured logic. That, I've adjusted to. But because this idiot fringe has spread like a mold into positions of authority and can now make bad decisions for others. Librarians, in my head, are special and somewhat magical people - the smiling, soft-spoken hosts of Knowledge World. I don't want them doing this shit.

    That said: thank you, Joanna, for a thoughtful and well-rounded.... well, round-up. It's important to note that American Christian fundamentalists aren't the only ones pulling this crap. It's not the point-of-view that goes toxic, it's the idea that one's absolute RIGHTNESS must be protected by silence.

  • Because knowledge of anything dark, difficult, or outside a person's worldview is THE WORST THING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN.

  • John W

    Wow. I'm looking at some of those books, classics. Wow.

    But I guess the silver lining in all this is that though they may have succeeded in banning them in a few places, most of those books will endure long past the folks who thought to ban them.

    Edit. The more I think about it this list of banned books it actually gives me hope for humanity because despite the efforts of some people to ban them these books have defied them and have become embedded in our consciousness.

    I've known about books like Where The Wild Things Are, Charlotte's Web and everything by Dr Seuss since I was child back in the mesozoic era. So whoever is trying to ban these books they're failing.

    They're getting ready to adapt Little Women yet again so Louisa May Alcott is in some way getting the last laugh.

  • Modiano

    I still think of Turkish Delight as the most delicious food I will never be able to taste and I read that book decades ago.

  • Bodhi

    Its going to be adapted AGAIN? But, but the last movie was so good!

  • John W

    Hey it could end up as a show on the CW.

  • Bodhi

    Eek! Say not so!

  • linnyloo

    We just moved into a new house with a fireplace, and we don't want our kitties digging around in it/climbing up it/god knows what (we've blocked it up for now with a sheet of plywood) -- so I'm going to build a little bookshelf to put inside of it, and we're going to use it to display our banned books.

  • nailpolishcolor

    I would like to imagine that after the dictionary was banned, all spelling test scores immediately went down and the school district blamed the teachers.

  • BlackRabbit

    I can see determining an appropriate age for reading some of these-but banning? Nooooo.

  • Ruby Guggenheim

    I don't get setting ages for books. I don't know anyone who ever had emotional/psychological problems because they read books intended for adults when they were "too young," nor have I ever read anything in a book more depraved or disturbing than the stories other kids would tell in front of first and second graders on the back of the school bus. Kids are going to learn about sex and violence whether you like it or not, they might as well learn about it through some good books.

  • Jim Johnson

    "If you're a librarian today, and a kids asks for Naked Lunch, and he's seven years old, if he's heard of it, in my book he's old enough to read it."
    -John Waters

  • Mrs. Julien

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? was the first book we ever read to little J. He was about four days old and still in the neo-natal intensive care unit. I didn't actually like the illustrations, but I figured his brand new eyes would enjoy the splodges of colour.

  • Anytime I read a list like this, all I can think is "I want my kid to read EVERY BOOK ON THIS FREAKING LIST." Damn the man.

  • emilya

    upon reading this list, i had suppress the urge to spend my lunch break at my local bookstore buying every single one of these books. maybe i'll just buy the ones i don't already own?

  • DarthCorleone

    Thanks for that rush of nostalgia today in seeing that closing image from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. One of my favorites.

  • Jiffylush

    Reading down through the list I was not surprised to see ignorance and intolerance which is par for the course when it comes to book banning. I wasn't surprised or shocked or upset about any of the books. That is until I got to the this:

    The Giving Tree: Because the tree is overly compliant and, yes, giving and the boy is demanding and selfish this book has been called sexist.

    This is the most genuinely moving young children's book that I have ever read. My kids are 10 and almost 12 and I still don't think I could get through a reading without crying.

    Seeing that someone tried to ban It bothered me so much that I am actually shaking. It's a plainly obvious allegory for motherhood, do I really live in a world where a mother portrayed as being mothering is considered sexist?

    I quit.

  • NateMan

    Really? As above, I have no desire to ban the book for anyone, and yet I hate it to the point that I won't ever get it for my daughter. I wouldn't consider it sexist. I just think the kid is a spoiled brat. But that's the thing about the written word that makes it so important; it gives us all the feels. Just in different directions.

  • ".. it gives us all the feels." I'm stealing that.

  • flibbertygibbert

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower: my hometown. My junior high. Banned by ONE FAMILY. Literally. Good news: the local bookstore sold out of copies the day they announced the ban. Best way to get kids to read is to forbid it.

  • Lindzgrl

    It is great that it gets kids to read it, but it's unfortunate that they no longer get to read it in an academic setting where they can get more of a chance to dissect the book and discuss it.

  • flibbertygibbert

    well, considering the "academic setting" that was "language arts" at the junior high.....they're not missing much. (jk, i fully understand your point). the perks of being an upper-middle class white privileged suburb: these bans barely affect you b/c you can just up and buy the book on your own. Now if you live somewhere without a lot of books stores, don't have much spending money and the local library is as dangerous as a bus station at 12am.....now i'm putting my court shoes on and i'll see your "religious freedom" and raise you one establishment clause. :)

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    But really, JoRo, it's always a vocal, reactionary minority attempting to control what other people are exposed to. Always. I've often wondered why people are so much more concerned with others consumption as opposed to their own. They're all probably just bored.

  • "Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I know I should stop. Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them for their own good."

  • Uriah_Creep

    That's Heinlein, right? Good stuff.

  • Yeah. 'The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.' I've always liked that, 'Puppet Masters' and 'Glory Road' better than I ever did 'Stranger In A Strange Land.'

  • Uriah_Creep

    I also love "Moon", but then I love all Heinlein books. They were my go-to SF books when I was a teenager.

  • idgiepug

    My favorite anti-book story is from the early days of Harry Potter. A local woman wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper about the evils of Potter, and she actually opened with "I haven't read the book, but..." She then proceeded to list all of the immoral acts that she "heard" were in the book, including the eating of an infant (what the?) Not only that, but this is a rather small town, and most people knew that this particular pillar of morality had just a few years before carried on an affair with a neighbor that eventually led to the dissolution of two marriages, both of which had children. Was she just bored? Maybe, but it seems much more sinister to me.

  • NateMan

    But there are so many minorities trying to do the same stupid shit that when you squint your eyes, they make up one big, stupid, closeminded, self-righteous majority.

  • oilybohunk7

    I love so many of these. I also love the random hedgehog reading the dictionary.

  • e jerry powell

    Hedgehogs are never random.

  • oilybohunk7

    I suppose you're right. I have one, Harrison, and he is pretty deliberate. He is my profile picture.

  • e jerry powell

    "...how else will children learn to use every part of the pig? AND I MEAN EVERY PART."

    Well, Anthony Bourdain can make it plainer than Laura Ingalls Wilder ever did...

    All the way down to the anus.

  • But will Anthony Bourdain teach me how to twist straw into bundles to burn as heating fuel?

  • emmalita

    I remember that, and have long regretted the fact that I have never needed to know this.

  • e jerry powell

    Well, if he does an episode in the Texas panhandle, he'll probably have to teach you how to use cow patties in your wood-burning stove the way the high plains settlers had to.

    What were they thinking, moving to a region that had no trees?

  • NateMan

    That they were moving to Texas and thus already fucked?

  • emmalita

    Hey now. Some of Texas is awesome. Yankee.

  • e jerry powell

    There is that, yes.

  • NateMan

    Only if you then use it to light a joint.

  • I live in Anoka County. I spend a lot of time combing craigslist for rentals in other parts of the Twin Cities metro area. I'm pretty sure a few of our neighbors would round us up as witches if they knew how my roommate and I voted on the gay marriage amendment last fall.

  • oilybohunk7

    I voted pro gay marriage the last time it came up in Michigan but the language of the proposition was somewhat confusing so I knew of a few opponents of it actually voted for it. Muahaha.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I worked with a few people who were adamantly for the gay marriage ban, but thought that they were supposed to vote no for gay marriage. When someone corrected them, they said it was a "liberal trick". It was a amendment brought forth by Republicans (Whose failure helped pave the way for the marriage law last August). In summation, I work with some ignorant assholes.

  • They spent their time putting two amendments on the ballot and then they didn't get a budget passed in time so the government shut down, losing the goodwill of some people that might have supported their amendments. They forgot that, overall, Minnesota is a left-leaning moderate state.

  • Aaron Schulz

    and considering the average age of a lot of the people in northern MN, itll only get more like california as the old ones die

  • The Minnesota amendment was anti-gay marriage so the fact that a yes vote meant you were against gay marriage and a no vote meant you were for it (or at least thought that an amendment was a bit far since there was already a law against it), I'm sure some people messed it up. The amendment didn't pass and thanks to the legislature, Minnesota has had same-sex marriage since August.

    I actually had to report a poll worker at my precinct because of the amendments on the ballot. We had two, anti-gay marriage and pro-voter ID, and in Minnesota if you don't vote either way on an amendment it counts as a no vote. He was reminding people specifically to vote on the amendments as he handed them their ballots.

  • oilybohunk7

    I believe that was how ours worked as well. I read up on the proposals before I voted so I knew exactly what my vote really meant. I would have reported that person as well, that is not the time or place to try to push your agenda.

    There is a case that is going to go to court that I hope will make gay marriages legal in Michigan: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_new...

  • It's also illegal. He was doing something that could potentially influence the outcome of the election.

    To bring this all back on topic: Anoka County is hyper-conservative. It is in no way shocking that residents of this county went after the innocuous Eleanor & Park.

  • Aaron Schulz

    i have alot of family in anoka and i find it weird how left they are compared to the general population. Also why is anoka the halloween capital of minnesota, like isnt that against christian values?

  • But if you hold a giant Halloween celebration then you can control the message! I'm fortunate to live in a part of Anoka County that is not in Bachmann's district. Before that, I was fortunate to live in a part of Washington County (the county she actually lives in) that was not in her district. It's a weirdly-shaped district.

  • NateMan

    Everyone, everywhere who has tried a ban a book, be they Christian, Muslim, Atheist, or Miscellaneous, for any reason, up to and including a book as evil as Mein Kampf, needs to be anally violated with a sideways cactus so hard that spines literally shoot out their ears. Not that I think Mein Kampf should be read by anyone, particularly school children, but it needs to be out there as an example of just how reprehensible both people and censorship can be. Not only whatever qualifies for us as 'good' needs to be available, since we can so rarely agree on what that quality actually is. And banning children books... Don't even get me started.

    I shouldn't have read this while already cranky.

  • e jerry powell

    I have always striven to find a way to incorporate cacti. I just couldn't come up with a workable punchline to the set-up.

    Well played, sir.

  • NateMan

    Gracias. I really do try.

  • BWeaves

    And yet, Struwwelpeter never gets banned. That book traumatized me in two languages across two continents.

  • flibbertygibbert

    here here! *shudders*

  • Samantha Klein

    I'd like to add to the Rainbow Rowell story just a bit by sharing this Publisher's Weekly article about how Saint Paul Public Library and the Metropolitan State University Library (I work here!) rallied around this issue and brought Rainbow to MN in support of reading rights for children (and everyone!) She was a lot of fun to hear speak, and as far as I know, both of her events were very well-attended.


  • JoannaRobinson


  • Samantha Klein

    Back atcha!

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