Can a book start a revolution?
Books can be powerful, moving, and inspiring. Books are meant to make you question and think.
Today for banned books week, we look at books have been removed or challenged because some believe they encourage disrespect of authority. Viva la Revolucion!
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
I am quite afraid that children will hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s an underpants wearing superhero.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? By Bill Martin, Jr.
Banned because another Bill Martin wrote a book on Marxism. It actually wasn’t the same Bill Martin, but what does that matter. Brown Bear is rife with Marxist propaganda, what with all of his…seeing things.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
I do hope that our children don’t run away from home in a Giant Peach inhabited with magic insects.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Banned because it shows anthropomorphic pigs as cops. Pigs have other careers in the book but-okay, this one is a little funny. I think it’s more cause for Mr. Steig to get speeding tickets for the rest of his life than a reason to be banned.
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Banned because it the poem, “How Not to Have to Dry Dishes” encourages children to smash dishes instead of dry them. I imagine if we had a rash of those there would be an answer poem: “How to Insure You’ll be Grounded until College.”
In all seriousness, I have worked for a school where Captain Underpants was banned. It was one of the most popular books for our struggling readers and it was taken out of their hands because the main characters were "not nice." Books that kids desperately wanted to read were taken from them because of overblown fears, possibly turning a child away from reading in general.
I think we underestimate our kids when we think books like this are going to make them turn against us. I also think we might be taking ourselves a little too seriously as “authorities.”