Saturday, 10 June 2017

10 books that were surprisingly banned.

With recent worrying developments on the internet, such as facebook and twitter deciding what we can and can't read, it's important to remind ourselves of the importance of free speech. I understand the need for age certification, but sadly in many cases the people deciding what we can and can't read are either dangerously deluded, or pushing their own dubious agenda.

Over the years there have been some seemingly innocent books which have surprisingly been banned.  Here are some of the most notable...

This bank note has no value, apparently.

1) The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum

This was banned from libraries in Detroit for allegedly 'supporting negativism' and for 'having no value for children'.

Seriously, there are some crazy people in the world if they think the Wizard of Oz needs to be banned. Not every book has to be about inspiring readers to change the world. Surely some books can just be about having fun!

2) Little House On The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I've never read 'Little House On The Prairie' but I never used to watch the TV show when I was a kid because it was too square and too wholesome, so I was quite surprised to discover it had been banned from a classroom in South Dakota. Apparently it was banned due to comments made by the characters about Native Americans. I've never read the book so I can't comment on how the book portrays Native Americans, but of course, we should always respect all people.* However, if anyone finds passages in the book offensive, then surely a better idea would be to openly discuss why they believe these comments are wrong, rather than sweep it under the carpet and airbrush it out of history.

* But not all cultures obviously. Some cultures promote horrific evils, and obviously should be utterly condemned. But it's important to recognise the difference between people and cultures, and people should always be respected.

The ***** dictionary.

3) The Dictionary

The Dictionary has been banned from several libraries in California due to it including definitions for rude words, such as *******, **** ****** and of course, a particular favourite of mine, ***** ******** muffin.

4) Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The public library of Tarzana*, California removed Tarzan from its shelves because Tarzan and Jane weren't officially married before they got together.

* Tarzana is on the site of the former Tarzana Ranch, a 550 acre property belonging to Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of Tarzan, hence the name.

5) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is a story about censorship in a world where books are illegal. In 1998 it was a case of fiction becoming fact when West Marion High School in Mississippi removed it from the required reading list because officials were unhappy with an expletive in the book.

Snow is white.

6) Snow White And The Seven Dwarves by Kathryn Harper

Snow White was recently banned from a school library in Qatar after an angry parent complained that it was full of innuendo. Generally speaking, people who see innuendo in innocent things are the people with the dirtiest minds...

7) Where's Waldo? by Martin Handford

In 1993 'Where's Waldo?' was removed from the Springs Public School library in East Hampton, New York. Apparently the reason for the ban was because one of the scenes features a woman sunbathing facedown with her bikini top untied.

8) Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault

Younger readers should look away now.
I've mentioned before on the Charles Fudgemuffin blog that the story of Little Red Riding Hood could be quite a scary story for young kids However, rather surprisingly it wasn't the unsettling tale of the wolf eating Little Red Riding Hood's grandma and then planning to eat Little Red Riding Hood that got this book banned. It was banned (by two California school districts) because one of the gifts Little Red Riding Hood was taking to her grandma was wine.

9) The Witches by Roald Dahl

This was banned by some libraries in England due to claims of sexism.  The author Roald Dahl said, "I do not wish to speak badly about women.  Most women are lovely. But the fact remains that all witches are women. There is no such thing as a male witch. On the other hand, a ghoul is always a male. Both are dangerous."

Seriously, people who are upset because men can't be witches need to go and live in Somalia and witness the horrific crimes committed against women and children, and then have a serious rethink about their priorities.

A regular sized peach.

10) James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach has been banned on several occasions, and for several reasons.  It was removed from schools in Stafford County, Virginia for encouraging children to disobey adults.  The adults being disobeyed were the villains of the story, but apparently that doesn't matter.

It was also once banned in Wisconsin because the spider licking her licks can apparently 'have more than one meaning'.  As I've already said, people who see innuendo in innocent things...

. . . . . . . .

Once again, it's great to live in a free society with free speech (notwithstanding corrupt facebook and corrupt twitter), so hopefully blog posts like this can remind us of the importance of free speech. Some people naively assume that our society will always be free, but history shows us that societies change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, so we should never take freedom of speech for granted.

One book which hasn't been banned is my recently published collection of crime themed short stories entitled 'How To Poison Your Husband And Get Away With It, and Other Short Stories', which is available for kindle from Amazon.

'True Freedom' is a short story taken from the collection.

Here's a short blurb for 'True Freedom':

"When an old 'friend' from Clive Dunmore's past turns up, Clive fears he comes seeking revenge. However, Clive discovers the old 'friend' is seeking something altogether different. Freedom. In the truest sense of the word..."


  1. Actually, Tarzana really is named after Tarzan. It is on the site of the former Tarzana Ranch, a 550 acre property belonging to Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of Tarzan.,_Los_Angeles

    1. Thanks!

      I've updated the article to include that fact.


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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.