Teacher Guide to Handout A: Which Books Were Banned?
All of the books in Handout A were at one point, banned from different public schools in America. Below are the reasons they were banned.
To Kill A Mockingbird:
Harper Lee’s great American tome. For some educators, the Pulitzer-prize winning book is one of the greatest texts teens can study in an American literature class. Others have called it a degrading, profane and racist work that “promotes white supremacy.” The book was briefly banned from multiple school districts in the 1980s and 1990s.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was briefly banned from a Texas school district in 2006 citing parent concerns over wizardry and “satanic” subtexts.
After a year ban, Venado Middle school in Irvine, CA utilized an expurgated version of the text in which all the “hells” and “damns” were blacked out. Other complaints have said the book went against objectors religious beliefs.
Catcher in the Rye:
Young Holden, favorite child of the censor. Frequently removed from classrooms and school libraries across America because it is claimed to be “unacceptable,” “obscene,” “blasphemous,” “negative,” “foul,” “filthy,” and “undermines morality.” And to think Holden always thought “people never notice anything.”
1984 by George Orwell has been challenged numerous times on the grounds that it contains communist and sexual content. This book was challenged in Jackson County, Florida (1981) because the novel is “pro-communist and contains explicit sexual matter.”
A school board in Strongsville, OH refused to allow the book to be taught in high school English classrooms in 1972. It also refused to consider Cat’s Cradle as a substitute text and removed both books from the school library. The issue eventually led to a 1976 District Court ruling overturning the ban in Minarcini v. Strongsville.
A Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996. Community values are frequently cited in discussions over challenged books by those who wish to censor them.