Really Good Banned Books

April 3, 2024


In these days of sensitivity, some of my favorite childhood books seem like they would be banned.. However, when I checked online library collections, most remain in circulation. 

***Instert heavy hearted thoughts on banning books (I don't approve) and what taxpayer's money should be used for here (it's loaded) and that's a column for another day. 

A year ago, everyone was in an uproar that certain Dr. Seuss books were being banned. "To Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street" was banned because there was an illustration on one page of a stereotyped man from China. 

So, you can see why I was fearful one of my favorites would soon be gone as well. 

Are you familiar with The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop? I don't know why, but my friends and I loved this book. I think we loved it because the plot was fascinating and totally different than all the other 1,000's of books about dogs, little girls jumping rope, fairies and trucks. 

Imagine, 5 identical brothers, wrongly charged with murder, sentenced to execution, and then, using powers of incredible super-hero-esque skill, escape the clutches of death. Then, live happily ever after with their mother. — Can you beat that? 

No. You. Can. Not. 

Someone please make a movie.

I learned the author, Claire Huchet Bishop also wrote a Newbery Honor Medal winning book, "Pancakes-Paris." I recently found a copy and discovered it was completely unlike the Chinese Brothers. Depicting post-war life in France, this story glorifies the kindness of the American Soldiers who befriend a hungry and poor little boy and his family. It's a "syrupy" sweet storyline, tainted with  politically incorrect references to African Americans. 

It reminded me of another childhood favorite that is completely banned, that also made me crave pancakes every time I read about that tiger running around the tree. The main character was from India, yet it didn't bode well for our evolving modern American society and was completely tossed out of libraries. 

And would you believe with all the fussing and fighting over library books, my own local Fairhope Library doesn't carry my last two books, Exploding Hushpuppies and Bringing Christmas Home? They both have subtle Christian messages and wholesome family situations, so I guess that's a no-no these days. 

And speaking of cultural stereotypes, this is also one of my favorites. It was actually banned in Spain for a while and Adolf Hitler burned it because he declared it to be, "degenerate democratic propaganda."

I've written before about my collection of Childhood of Famous Americans books. I love these, but the language is a bit outdated and offensive on many accounts. Someone tried to modernize them, but they lost their charm. 

What were some of your favorite childhood books? Are any of them banned or outdated now? 

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