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5 Books Banned for the Most Absurd Reasons

By July 21, 2015September 26th, 2017Literature

Ever since books were invented, they’ve also been banned. Some reasons for removing reading material are sometimes understandable, even if you don’t support the idea, but some are simply absurd!


Concentrating especially on children’s literature for this blog, we’ve put together the five books that we think have been banned for the most ridiculous reasons. We’re not sure whether to laugh or cry at some of these, take a look and see what you think.



Where’s Wally (Where’s Waldo in U.S) – Martin Handford

This just has to make the top of the list. In 1987, Where’s Wally was removed from the shelves and reprinted because it contained a drawing of a topless woman sunbathing. Not only is she drawn, but she is turned away from the scene and so nothing is really exposed. What I’d like to know is who found the tiny topless woman in between everything else on the page, and why weren’t they looking for Wally?

Where’s Waldo US
Where’s Wally UK

The Lorax – Dr Seuss

This is possibly the most ridiculous banning I’ve heard of. The Lorax banned in several schools in the U.S for its ‘criminalisation of the logging industry’. Who knew that this little environmental chap could get into so much trouble? It seems the truth isn’t popular with many. Dr Seuss has got into trouble with several books, supposedly promoting homosexuality and Marxism (I must have missed those).

The Lorax US
The Lorax UK

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Frank Baum

This wonderful magical tale was banned in all public libraries in Chicago in 1928 because of its ungodly influence in depicting women in strong leadership roles. In 1957 the book got into trouble again, this time in Detroit for having no influence on today’s children.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz US
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz UK

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

As late as 1996 (shame on you Texas), To Kill a Mockingbird was banned from a reading list in Lindale Texas for ‘conflicting with the values of the community’. I suspect it’s the values of the community that need banning in this case, not the books.

To Kill a Mockingbird US
To Kill a Mockingbird UK

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Tenth Edition

Possibly the most absurd thing I have ever read is the banning of the Merriam-Webster dictionary (tenth edition) in several classrooms in California because it included the definition for oral sex. Now I don’t know about you, but half the fun of school was looking up the rude words in the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster dictionary US
Merriam-Webster dictionary UK

Close contenders for the list were Alice in Wonderland, banned for putting human emotions in animals, back in 1931; Uncle Tom’s Cabin, banned for its anti-slavery themes, proving how much sway plantation owners had with public bodies and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, banned for its overt rejection of a woman’s role of wife and mother.


We hope you’re as gobsmacked as us, enjoy whatever book you’re reading this week!

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  • Sarah Williams says:

    I live in Texas, not far from Lindale and To Kill a Mockingbird was required reading in grade nine. Please, don’t think we’re all idiots.

    • Dana Conrad says:

      My sister’s name is Sarah Williams! Not an important piece of information, but still!

    • Cassie sharp says:

      Agreed! My mom had to read it in college in 1990 in 1995 when I was in kindergarten she read the parts about boo radly to me and I read it in 9th grade in 2004. In fort worth Texas. Don’t judge us all on that one tiny part of Texas.

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