Baby Gesture

15 Banned Picture Books That Belong in Your Kid’s Library

January 19, 2024 | by Carlene Kuntz

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As parents, we want to give our children the best opportunities to learn and grow. One of the most powerful tools we have for their development is books. Picture books, in particular, have the ability to captivate young minds and ignite their imagination. However, it’s important to remember that not all books are created equal. Some have faced controversy and have even been banned from libraries and schools.

While it may seem counterintuitive, there are several banned picture books that actually deserve a place on your kid’s bookshelf. These books tackle important topics, challenge societal norms, and promote critical thinking. So, let’s take a look at 15 banned picture books that belong in your kid’s library:

1. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

This heartwarming tale is based on a true story of two male penguins who adopt an egg and raise a chick together. It has faced challenges from those who oppose same-sex relationships, but it teaches children about love and acceptance.

2. “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is a beloved author, but “The Lorax” has faced criticism for its environmental message. However, it’s an important book that teaches children about the consequences of greed and the importance of taking care of our planet.

3. “In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak

This whimsical book faced controversy due to its depiction of a young boy’s naked body. However, it’s a delightful story that encourages creativity and imagination.

4. “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

Although it may seem like a simple story, “The Giving Tree” has faced criticism for promoting codependency. However, it also teaches children about the importance of selflessness and the joy of giving.

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

This classic book was mistakenly banned due to confusion with another book by the same author. It’s a wonderful introduction to colors and animals, perfect for young readers.

6. “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss has faced multiple challenges, and this book is no exception. Critics argue that it perpetuates racial stereotypes. However, it’s important to view it in its historical context and use it as a starting point for discussions about diversity and representation.

7. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

This imaginative book has faced criticism for its dark and scary imagery. However, it teaches children about the power of their own imagination and how to navigate their emotions.

8. “Captain Underpants” series by Dav Pilkey

This hilarious series has been challenged for its irreverent humor and perceived lack of literary value. However, it’s a favorite among reluctant readers and can inspire a love for books.

9. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

This powerful book, based on Anne Frank’s diary during the Holocaust, has faced challenges due to its mature content. However, it provides a valuable lesson about the importance of tolerance and understanding.

10. “Where’s Waldo?” by Martin Handford

Believe it or not, this popular search-and-find book has faced challenges for its hidden illustrations, which some claim are inappropriate. However, it’s a fun and engaging way for children to develop their observation skills.

11. “The Butter Battle Book” by Dr. Seuss

Another book by Dr. Seuss on this list, “The Butter Battle Book” tackles the serious issue of war and nuclear weapons. It has faced challenges for its political message, but it encourages children to think critically about conflict resolution.

12. “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats

This groundbreaking book was one of the first to feature an African American protagonist. It has faced challenges for its portrayal of race, but it’s an important book that promotes diversity and inclusion.

13. “A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein

This collection of poems has been banned for its alleged promotion of disobedience and disrespect. However, it’s a book that encourages children to think creatively and question the world around them.

14. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

This classic novel has faced numerous challenges for its use of racial slurs and controversial themes. However, it’s an important piece of literature that explores racism and the journey towards empathy.

15. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

This dystopian novel has faced challenges for its depiction of a seemingly perfect society. However, it raises important questions about individuality, freedom, and the role of government.

While these banned picture books have faced their fair share of controversy, they offer valuable lessons and opportunities for discussion. By including them in your kid’s library, you can encourage critical thinking, empathy, and a love for reading. Remember, it’s important to read these books together with your child and engage in open conversations about the themes they present. Happy reading!