A Brief History of Stupid Book Bans, from ‘Twelfth Night’ to ‘Where’s Waldo’?


Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has just been banned in school libraries in one North Carolina county. The 1952 novel about a man who seems to have fallen into a racial oblivion in America has remained firmly on countless school reading lists and many lists of best books, including TIME’s own Top 100. So it may seem surprising that the book was banned, and not for inappropriate content — as books often are — but rather for lack of literary merit, according to one Randolph County school board member.

This book wasn’t simply removed from reading lists, either. It was explicitly banned by a 5-2 vote, which took place after a 12-page complaint was placed by a parent who thought the story was inappropriate for her 11th grade child.

Here’s a look at other notable books that have been banned In the last two decades.

The Diary of a…

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