Banned Book Tuesday: Harry Potter

 In Banned Book Tuesday, Features

I was searching online the other day and I came across and article that listed the 100 most controversial and banned books of the last decade (2000-2009). Guess what the #1 book on the list was? Harry Potter. With one simple google search: “Why should  Harry Potter be banned?” I found article after article addressing the different reasons that children should not be allowed to read Harry Potter. There are three major reasons that Harry Potter has been banned in the past:

First: The magic elements lead some to believe that children who read these book and sympathize with the characters will be devil worshipers. (More on that later…)

Second: They set a bad example. Children are rooting for Harry Potter and his friends to succeed throughout the books, even if that means that they are lying, stealing, breaking rules, and disrespecting their teachers.

Third: They are too scary! The dark elements within the tale are filled with too much death and suspense for children. Most articles I read that addressed this idea said that Harry Potter’s world is a nightmare world for children… the unexpected happens, people you are attached to die, and you are stuck in a dizzying maze trying to find a way out.

I know, for me, the most compelling argument was the first- the fact that children are exposed to witchcraft as a fun experience that is exciting and rewarding. I can see how a private religious school would have a problem with this, however, i was finding articles demanding public school districts to ban the book from their shelves. Some petitioners and school districts have attacked J.K. Rowling herself as being a satanist for writing these books:

“J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, is a witch and in league with Lucifer himself. She is a lunatic and freak straight out of the pits of Hell, and should be in prison for crimes against the innocent and child abuse! For every child that reads one of her filthy books is just another abuse victim! She may as well be loading a gun, and placing it in the child’s hand, and asking them to put it in their mouth and pull the trigger.” -Carolynn Francis, a woman in Georgia requesting her school board to ban Harry Potter.

Woah… I mean… wow… not even sure where to start with that one. First of all, as I said earlier, I can understand a religious environment banning Harry Potter from their shelves, but a public school? First of all, I hate the idea that an author is judged personally for the things that she writes about. Sometimes, author’s write about things that have NOTHING to do with them… Secondly, Child Abuse?!?! Really?!?! I’m pretty certain Harry Potter is the single most important series of children’s literature that has come about in the last 30 years because it is a series that FINALLY compels children to dedicate themselves to a book. Never mind that the series and movies have a worldwide following, the books themselves are praised for their ability to connect children to books. Isn’t that what we all want anyway? Children to read and stop playing with their WII/Playstation/iPad/iPhone/Computer for an hour?

I’d love to hear your take… I know this one is a controversial one… Leave a comment below!

See you next week!

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