Children's books banned overseas

Some are critically acclaimed, others have won literary awards. Nonetheless, some libraries around the world have removed these books from the shelves after complaints by the public.

The Harry Potter series, by J K Rowling

Synopsis: A boy discovers on his 11th birthday that he has wizarding abilities and goes to learn magic at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Here, he learns spells, encounters fantastical creatures and battles an evil dark wizard.

Banned in: Many parts of the US, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia

Reason: Fundamentalist Christian groups and schools across the US have criticised the Harry Potter books for promoting anti-religious themes such as witchcraft, black magic, occultism, violence and even Satanism. The UAE also banned the series in 2002, claiming that it went against Islamic values.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey

Synopsis: Best friends George and Harold sell comic books on the school playground featuring superheroes they created, the newest being The Amazing Captain Underpants. When George obtains a 3D Hypno-Ring, the two hypnotise their hateful school principal, Mr Krupp, and make him act as if he were Captain Underpants come to life, complete with underwear and cape.

Banned in: Libraries and schools in many parts of the US

Reason: Many parents across the US complained that the series contained nudity, violence, offensive language and misbehaviour.

Where Willy Went, by Nicholas Allan

Synopsis: Willy is a little sperm that lives inside Mr Browne, along with 300 million other sperm. He practises for the Great Swimming Race every day and on the day of the race, beats all his competitors to reach the prize - one of Mrs Browne's eggs.

Banned in: Libraries across the US

Reason: Many parents complained that the subject matter and images in the book were too sexually explicit for young children.


In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak

Synopsis: A young boy named Mickey is fast asleep when he is disturbed by noise from the lower floor. He suddenly begins to float and all his clothes disappear as he drifts, naked, into a surreal world called the "Night Kitchen".

Banned in: Libraries across the US

Reason: Parents and libraries protested against the book, which contained images of full-frontal nudity and sexually suggestive scenes, such as one in which Mickey jumps into a milk bottle and slides down it.