A surprising range of childrenâ€™s books have faced censorship even in the 21st century. JK Rowlingâ€™s Harry Potter series has been banned in many schools in the US (and even in one UK school) and on six occasions the books were publicly burned on the grounds that they promoted witchcraft.
Adults have often tried to stop children reading books they considered unsuitable or dangerous: in 1973, a school board in North Dakota confiscated all the copies of Kurt Vonnegutâ€™s Slaughterhouse Five which were being used for English lessons. Many of the students refused to give up their books, so the school ordered a search of their lockers and burnt all the the copies of Slaughterhouse Five that they found there.
So if anyone ever threatens to ban books in your school, here are some quotations to inspire you to defend your right to read dangerous books:
Banning books give us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.
Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. His coming of age novel has faced censorship in the USA and Canada.
The book felt cool enough now to slip inside her uniform. At first, it was nice and warm against her chest. As she began walking, though, it began to heat up again. By the time she made it back to Papa and Wolfgang Edel, the book was starting to burn her. It seemed to be ignitingâ€¦Beneath her shirt the book was eating her up.
In Nazi Germany, many books were considered so dangerous that they were publicly burnt. Liesl Meminger, the Book Thief of Marcus Zusakâ€™s bestselling novel, steals a half-burned book from the edge of one of these bonfires.
At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me.
In 2014 protesters against a military seizure of power in Thailand used this gesture from Suzanne Collinsâ€™ Hunger Games series to symbolise their resistance to the new regime.
If a public school were to remove every book because it contains one word deemed objectionable to some parent, then there would be no books at all in our public libraries.
So said Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, when the tenth edition of the Merriam Webster dictionary was banned in a Southern California school after a parent complained that the offending dictionary included a definition of â€œoral sexâ€.
I believe that censorship grows out of fear, and because fear is contagious, some parents are easily swayed. Book banning satisfies their need to feel in control of their childrenâ€™s lives. This fear is often disguised as moral outrage. They want to believe that if their children donâ€™t read about it, their children wonâ€™t know about it. And if they donâ€™t know about it, it wonâ€™t happen.â€™
The original Queen of teen, Judy Blume, author of books includin gAre You There God, Itâ€™s Me Margaret and Forever, which caused ripples of extreme shock and horror when published over 40 years ago owing to their frank sexual content.
When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like theyâ€™re saying that rising above your situation isnâ€™t possible. That if you grow up in an ugly situation, your story isnâ€™t even fit for good peopleâ€™s ears. That ugly things cancel out everything beautiful.
Rainbow Rowellâ€™s reaction to the Parents Action League campaign to remove her books from schools in Annoka-Hennepin, America. The League described Eleanor and Park as â€˜crude and sexually charged materialâ€™ containing 227 instances of â€˜profanityâ€™.
There are no bad authors for childrenâ€¦ because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories.
And Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies.
And Tango Makes Three is a beautiful book by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, based on the true story two male penguins in New Yorkâ€™s Central Park Zoo who formed a partnership and raised an egg together. There have been many campaigns to ban this book in the United States, due to its portrayal of same sex relationships.
I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.
But the Lorax was silenced in one Californian school in 1989, when Dr. Seussâ€™ wonderful story was banned for portraying the logging industry in a negative light and promoting environmentalism.
Oh, you canâ€™t help that,â€ said the cat. â€œWeâ€™re all mad here.
In 1991, the Governor of Hunan Province in China banned Lewisâ€™ Carrollâ€™s madcap classic, Alice in Wonderland, on the grounds that â€œanimals should not use human language, and that it was disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.â€
Of course itâ€™s a worry when anybody takes it upon themselves to dictate what people should or should not read. The power of organised religion is very strong in the US, and getting stronger because of the internet.
So says Philip Pullman, whose famous trilogy, His Dark Materials, has been banned in many schools in the US, largely due to its anti-Christian themes and positive portrayal of witchcraft. He has also spoken out against library closures, defending the importance of books being available to everyone. â€œLeave the libraries alone. You donâ€™t know the value of what youâ€™re looking after. It is too precious to destroy.â€
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show its own shame.
The last word from controversial author Oscar Wilde, taken from his book The Picture of Dorian Gray.