Famous Children’s Books: Banned Before Entering the Classroom

james giant peachThere are many children’s novels that have become beloved bedtime stories, some that are now so popularly taught in the elementary classroom and others that are just famous for movies based of their plots. It’s amazing to think of how many of these tales were originally banned from publication in countries all around the world. They were considered to be of a radical or politically outspoken nature, rather than the child-friendly works they are today.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

It is most common to think of Alice in Wonderland as a children’s story that is more mystical and mythical in nature than one of a historically controversial voice. However, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was banned in the Chinese province of Hunan in 1931 for its portrayal of animals speaking and behaving as humans. Censor General Ho Chien believed that assigning human language and action to animals was an insult to humans (rather than simply fictional), and even demoralizing to the human nature. Worried that the book would teach children to regard humans and animals on the same level, he stated the book to be “disastrous.”

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

By the time that William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies was published in 1954, it had been turned down by over 20 publishers. The book, now quite famous historically, is about a group of schoolboys who create their own “civilization” of sorts. Although Lord of the Flies became a bestseller over the years, the novel has often been banned and challenged based on “excessive violence and bad language” in its content. Just like many other controversial authors and their work, William Golding received the Nobel Prize for literature and he was knighted in the United Kingdom.

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