Freedom to Read Week (February 21–27, 2021) is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed to them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In honour of Freedom to Read Week, here is a list of some popular books that have been challenged and the silly reasons why:
Where’s Waldo? was banned from a local library when someone noticed there was a topless woman sunbathing in one of the beach pictures and showing off some side boob. In later editions of the book, the sunbather is given a bathing suit top and the offending breast has been covered.
Winnie the Pooh’s days of pantslessness were also challenged. Because Pooh is half-naked, they said, “the problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe, which is wholly inappropriate for children.”
Harriet the Spy was challenged because Harriet acts sneakily – basically she spies.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was once challenged because it depicts animals being able to talk. People felt this put animals on the same level as humans.
Maurice Sendak has been challenged twice for his “provocative” children’s books. Where the Wild Things Are was challenged for promoting abuse because Max’s mother threatens to send him to bed without supper. In the Night Kitchen was challenged for baby nudity.
A Heartbreaking work of staggering genius by David Eggers was challenged at the Toronto Public Library because it “contained profanity and poor grammar and sentence structure”. As a Pulitzer Prize nominated book, it was retained in the collection.
The Caledon Public Library is committed to protecting intellectual freedom and selects materials based on the belief that all individuals have the right to freely access information. To learn more read our Collection Development Policy.
Whether you’re an educator, student or member of the community, there are lots of ways you can help mark this annual event!