Banned Books Kindergarteners Will Love!

Sep 23, 2014 | Fall, Literacy, September, Teacher Wisdom | 15 comments

It’s Banned Book Week and there are tons of ‘banned’ books that you and your kindergarteners will love!

Some have officially been banned for certain reasons, some have made me stop and think how will I handle a certain question or comment, some I find humorous or amazing as an adult and not for children.  That being said… all are amazing books!
I don’t think the book No, David has ever been banned from anywhere but it sure has a little bit of David rearend in it!  Let’s be honest… that’s one of the pages that makes the books so memorable and loved by students!  And as a teacher.. there is nothing better than a child cuddled up in the library with a good book… even if it is just to see David’s behind!
The award winning book Where the Wild Things Are has actually been banned before because it is considered to have witchcraft and supernatural elements in it.  Seriously… that’s all I have to say about that!  Speaking as a mom of a child with severe anxiety issues, I always thought this book was a little more if-y because monsters of the mysterious-ness in which I read it.   But it’s surely a book kids love to read.
Oh Junie B!  You teach such poor social values and that is what placed you on some banned lists over time.  But as teachers of small children… we all know that sometimes we have to model things and IMO opinion that includes many of the mannerisms of this little sassy kindergartener!  You want to spark a good conversation with little ones about manners and being kind… read an excerpt from her book where she smart mouths or is extremely selfish and boy will those kids tell you exactly how she should have handled it!  We start with Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus usually starting in about October – kids just adore her!
Did you know Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See was actually banned in 2010?  I know you are thinking “what on earth?”  It was all some sort of mix up by an author with the same name or by someone using his name who had written a book that apparently should not have been written by a children’s author.  Who knows.. there are several versions floating around about this one but either way Brown Bear Brown Bear is a personal favorite for me and for kids of all ages!
Green Eggs and Ham – yup that’s right.  Green Eggs and Ham was banned until about 1991 because it was said that the cat was trying to seduce his same-sex friend!  There are also banned in some countries for political reasons… until the death of Dr. Seuss in 1991.  Crazy… who knew!
Walter the farting dog– banned for using the word farting 24 times?  Seriously.  Does whomever placed this on the list know how much kids love saying the word fart?  They must not.  I don’t know about you… but if my kids are using the word fart and it’s related to a piece of literature and not a funky smell coming from the child sitting on an orange carpet square – I am just fine.  (Of course, we always have to have a conversation about when enough is enough.. it’s kindergarten ya’all!)
And Tango Makes Three – banned because the two parent penguins are both male.  You have to read what’s gone on with this book at wikipedia (yes I know it’s not the best source all of the time but it does give a great history of the issues with this book.)  I will be honest… I don’t own this book yet BUT I felt it deserved a spot on my list!  I ordered it earlier today and am excited to get it and teach tolerance, love, acceptance, empath, and a whole set of other concepts to my own children with this book.

Where’s Waldo? – banned because it has nudity in it.  Who knew?  It’s apparently just a person’s back so I don’t think it’s really an issue IMO.  I grew up with these books and even have a few in my library that I personally brought in.  Never thought to check every single person to make sure they were appropriate – that would take 4-ever.  I am sure if we look hard enough we could find all sorts of bad things happening in those pictures!  Oh – I just had an idea.. what about using this books to start a story in the writing center?  Pick a page and write about everything you see!  Or make a little window out of paper.. they have to write about what is going on only in that little section. Love, love love!

The Lorax… banned because it shows the forestry department in a negative way.  Ok I see this to a point..  banning it so people can’t read it seriously the answer – IMO no!  Dr. Seuss… another great author who has written many stories that children love!  It’s a great book about caring for the earth and has lots of other positive messages in it as well!
The Muffin Muncher. This one was never banned and you may not get the humor in it and that’s OK!  I even bet some of my teacher blogging friends would have left it off LOL… but I tend to be a little kooky in real life.  Found this book in a friends library over the summer.  Previous teacher (who is also a friend) stated the kids loved the book about a dinosaur who eats too many muffins.
The following are books that I would not keep on my library shelf for students but books that I love as a teacher!  I like them because they are by authors we know and love or about fun stuff we can relate to!
Ok don’t freak out.. it’s only this Little Red Riding Hood that is banned because it has her bringing wine to her grandmother!  Now is that a loyal grandchild or what?  So this one gets a “loved by the teacher award!”
Draw Me a Star – banned because it dabbles with evolution. He drew a star and a man and a woman.  So I guess that means that Eric Carle created the world?  I don’t think it was meant as a nonfiction book – he drew these things as a part of a story line about drawing things.  It also contains nudity and so it’s more of a Kinder teacher favorite than a share with your students favorite.   I love anything Eric Carle – he’s an amazing author who has brought joy to SO MANY children’s lives!

In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) – banned because it has full frontal nudity!  Yup… full frontal on several pages.  A great read though because it is about a little boy who dreams of being heroic and brave and who wants to save the day and he wakes up perfectly safe and more powerful than the day before!  It’s because of the story line that I love this book so if you choose to read it to your students just simply place some little sticky note pants on the boy and you will be good to go!
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You Are Wonderful by Debbie Clement from Rainbows Within Reach.  Why yes.  She has officially reported that she has had her book banned because the word “magical” was a sacrilegious word.  You have arrived Debbie, you have arrived.
And there you have it… my list of “banned” books every kindergartener (or kinder teacher) will love!
Do you have any books where something in it has been questionable?  Comment below!

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15 Comments

  1. Debbie

    Thanks, dear friend for adding my book “You’re Wonderful” to this list of classics and beloved authors with such radical thoughts. Initially I was CRUSHED beyond consoling when the teacher told me that she could NEVER use my book in her setting. Until that conversation, I had NO idea that the word ‘magical’ could be taken to mean demonic. I later had a children’s librarian tell me that it was an absolute badge of honor to have a book that would be ‘rejected’ because that meant that it was getting out into the big, wide world — where there are many opinions.

    You’re the best. So are these books.

    Debbie Clement

    Reply
  2. Holly Hodges

    I found “The Muffin Muncher” in my classroom library when I moved in this summer and all I could do was laugh. Maybe I’m immature! I’m sure it’s fine for the kids, but I don’t think I could get through reading it without giggling.

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      OMGoodness… we found it cleaning out a classroom that a friend of mine took over from another friend. We found one other book that was way more inappropriate… funny because I am immature but so no appropriate for a kindergarten website!

      Reply
  3. MrsS

    I read and teach with And Tango Makes Three every year with my family unit. I guess I’m blessed to live (and teach) in a part of the country that is more accepting than others.
    Great list of great books!

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      Just curious how the kids react at kindergarten age? I am sure they are accepting and overlook the social implications that we adults would assume.

      Reply
  4. Positively Learning

    Oh my goodness, this is quite a list! And it includes some of my (& my students) favorites 🙂
    Jen

    Reply
  5. Dani Lynch

    I have ‘And Tango Makes Three’ – it’s one of the most beautiful children’s books I’ve ever read. I LOVE it. I just wish I could share it with my children – I know over here in the UK I’d probably be in a LOT of trouble for reading this to my class, sadly 🙁

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      It is a beautiful book! Thanks for letting us know what it would be like in your part of the UK!

      Reply
  6. Krogers Kindergarten

    I love the idea about using Where’s Waldo for a writing prompt!!!

    Reply
  7. Amy Labrasciano

    I have done Walter The Farting Dog for formal observations before because kids won’t take their eyes off you !!!

    Reply
  8. Mrs. Wyman

    I’m stumped by Brown Bear, Brown Bear! What am I missing???

    Reply
    • Jennifer @ Simply Kinder

      If you google it you it you will see a couple different versions of the story. From what I can tell the other book was very controversial and political and “not something a children’s author should write.” So some place banned it which is what put it as a topic of conversation during this time.

      Reply

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