TALK BACK: Banned Books

Driving home one night with some mom blogger friends, someone hatched a brilliant idea.

I'm not sure who uttered it first. It was a collaborative effort, no doubt (we are bloggers after all), but at some point, we determined that someone should really come up with a banned books list.

No, not that one. A practical one... created by parents.

For instance, earlier this week, my son selected this title from the library:

I'm unfamiliar with the Froggy series, but I recognized it from his school book fair so I didn't give it a second thought. After all, it
simply looks adorable, right?


The entire book is about Froggy finding every single excuse to dodge bedtime. Froggy needs to take a bath, but not without his favorite boat which is, of course, missing...

Then, he can't find his pajamas or toothbrush. He needs his lovey... and a snack... and a drink. (which he spills everywhere)... and the light just so... and the door cracked that much....

Meanwhile, Froggy's mommy passively goes along with every demand with an "oh-kay" and "oh, that's alright."

So guess what my son did last night?

He was up every five minutes asking for a snack... and a drink... and the lights just so... and the door cracked that much... I, however, was not nearly as benevolent as Froggy's mom.

Another book on our list is Babar. I loved this book as a child, however I seemed to have blocked out the gruesome murder of his parents by poachers in the first two pages. Also, not recommended for bedtime reading, but great for prompting uncomfortable questions.

Then there's The Rabbit Who Longed For Home. Found in a discount bin of a charity shop in London, I should have realized then and there that this is a terrible book.

A scared rabbit is forced to go to daycare, but not without a slight critique of working mothers. Once the rabbit adjusts, his parents pull him out of daycare because they're having a second baby. Lessons offered: Working mom, bad. New baby, more loved and worthy of attention than you.

What would be on your banned book list?


  1. All the Dora books. My 4 yr old heads straight for them everytime we go to the library and they are PAINFUL to read. More painful than the show if you can even believe that! He knows now that mommy will not read the Dora books--only daddy.

  2. Great post! I totally know what you mean. I have grabbed a couple of books or ordered them online and then later realized I did not like the message. One is the "Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle - it's all about a ladybuy who wants to fight and eventually gets beat and becomes nicer. Another is a Thomas book - can't fully remember the name but it is about Gordon Thomas racing down the mountain, and that Gordon is taunting Thomas about being slow. Thomas ends up winning and somewhat taunting back. Not a horrible book, but still, not the best message.

  3. This made me laugh and brought back a lot of memories of when my children were really little. Both boys went through a Richard Scarry phase -- Things that Go, I think was the name - and I'd finally tell them that "no, that is NOT a story book, you can read it on your own!"

  4. ANYTHING about being afraid of the dark or nighmares. Berenstain Bears "In The Dark" caused big problems in our house. If a book mentions being afraid of the dark, I skip over it or change the words. My daughter even has a book of prayers that says something along the lines of...Help me when I'm afraid - when all the scary shadows come out...What are these people thinking?

  5. Oh, I love this! I have become such a book snob. Isn't it amazing how books can be used to help our kids through those rough seasons, but also that power to influence works in the opposite direction too.

    I would ban the dora books (so annoying!).
    Probably anything based on a DIsney movie (it doesn't feel like real literature).
    A book called "The Pink Party" - my daughter picked it up at the library this week and we brought it home to read for school. It is based on two "Best friends" who both love pink and are completely envious of the other friend's pink items. They live to flaunt their new pink purchases to each other and badger their mothers for more pink items. They have a "pink party" where everything has a pink theme, but one friend leaves the party because she is so jealous of the other friend's outfit. They end up coming back together to play at the end, but never reconcile the attitude issues. The book reinforced every negative issue we are trying to HELP our daughter with - consumerism and jealousy and not being empathetic towards others. Ugh. Good reminder to pre-read!

    Bring on the Anne of Green Gables series to show young girls what it looks like to be creative, kind, compassionate, smart, and a great friend!!!

  6. I agree with much of what you said. But we are readers and lovers of the whole froggy series and my son has never acted out anything from the books, so it's kind of an individual thing. Like most things, you have to know your kid!

  7. I TOTALLY agree with that Froggy book and have thought that many times when reading it. Why do I keep reading it?! I have read a few over the years that were just a-w-f-u-l or had things in them that appalled me -- the word "stupid" or my favoriite, called a girl "hot". Really, a picture book?!?

  8. My mom just sent my 18 month old a bunch of Froggy books. Maybe we'll wait awhile before reading them.

  9. I find my kids (my oldest especially) often repeat words they hear/read in books, but acting things out like the Froggy book isn't as much of a problem, so the books on my banned list are

    - Miss Moo Goes to the Zoo (all the other animals say unkind things to the cow, and my son started saying those things to his friends when he was upset, even though we had talked many times about why we don't use the words like in the book)
    - The Little Wood Duck (a very cute story but says "Stupid," which my son picked up quickly)
    - Captain Underpants books (the librarian recommended them for our 5 year old, but again they're just flippant, with unnecessary bad words)

    For anyone with 5-ish-year-old kids who wants an OK choice, we've found our son likes the Nate the Great books a lot, and I haven't found as much language/unkindness in those.

  10. My banned list would contain Junie B. Jones. I'm sorry, but she is a brat! Sure the kids laugh at the stories, but her language, actions and general personality are just obnoxious. But sadly, even if I don't read it at home, the kids read it at school.


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