1 Oct 2012


As you may have noticed it's Banned Book Week and I'm delighted to be joining Book Journey's Sheila (our hostess with the mostest) along with lots of other bloggers who are also participating in Jump On The Banned Wagon.

To join in the event of seven days of books, reviews, and many giveaways be sure to stop by HERE at Sheila's site.

Running this year from the 30th of September through to the 6th of October, BBW started in America in 1982 as a response to the sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in American schools and libraries since when more than 11,300 books have been challenged, the top 10 of last year (according to the official BBW site) being ......

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism
Anyway, onto just one of the many, many books to be banned at some point in time.

Please be aware that this is not my usual book review and though it is not overly adult in content it may be moreso than many previous posts.


Picked not least of all because it's a book I, along with the now grown-up Niece #1 and nephew, have read and enjoyed countless number of times (without any of us actually having picked up on any sexual innuendo) I also think its a perfect example of just how silly the censoring of books can be.

One of the most popular writers of children's books, since 1936 when he developed the idea for his first book Dr Seuss has charmed his way into the lives of four generations of children and parents alike - in the process of doing so helping many kids learn to read. Hard to believe that his 1965 novel, Green Eggs and Ham was banned (albeit temporarily) in the People's Republic of China as well as more recently in California.

A book about a character called about Sam-I-Am who makes it his mission in life to get a somewhat grouchy unnamed individual to eat a plate of green eggs and ham, it was banned between 1965 up until the authors death in 1991 in the People's Republic of China because of its 'portrayal of early Marxism and in California because of it containing what was deemed as homosexual innuendo and seduction.

Yes, that's right ...... homosexual innuendo and seduction  - was I reading the same book?

For goodness sake, I think its fair to say that most of us stopped sniggering (if indeed we ever did) about a sausage looking like a penis a long, long time ago and yet it would seem that, far from giggling like primary school aged school boys, (if what we read is to be believed) someone in California deemed it fit to ban this book because .......
  • Sam tries to convince his friend to 'eat' the green eggs and ham - the ham of course representing a sausage, the sausage of course being a phallic symbol.
  • Several of the lines (Would you, could you, on a boat'/would you, could you, with a goat) were said to suggest 'sexual locations'. 
Oh please!

Read purely innocently by hundreds, thousands, millions(?) of children and adults alike across the globe I can't begin to wonder what kind of mindset these people had to come up with the notion that Sam, in trying to convince his friend to eat the ham (aka the 'sausage, aka the penis), was encouraging his friend to engage in certain sexual acts and that 'with a goat' obviously put the thought of sex with animals into the head of the books mainly pre-school-aged readers.

And, what's more ......

Would I be the only one who had concerns about the pre-school child (the age range at which the book is aimed) who, having heard the story, drew the conclusion that far from being a story about a young boy trying to get his friend to try a new foodstuff this was a story full of sexual connotations?

Not that Green Eggs And Ham with its secret messages that corrupt the minds of innocents is the only one of Dr Seuss's books to be banned - The Lorax (anti big business), The Sneetches (issues surrounding racial equality)  How The Grinch Stole Christmas (issues surrounding consumerism), Horton Hears A Who (a story about an obviously gay elephant) have all also been banned at one time or another

Sources: Bannedbooksweek.org, Wikipedia, OPPapers.com, mudmap.

PS For those of you wondering where my Media Monday post is, worry not, I shall be posting it tomorrow.


Carol said...

Green Eggs and Ham - banned!
Well I never.

thanks for the interesting post.

carol x

Jeannie said...

Some people are nuts = seeing homosexual seduction in Green Eggs and Ham clearly shows that a certain person has maybe some personal interest in being or doing some seduction of that nature but can't admit it even to themselves.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh wow, some books really are banned for the dumbest reasons. I don't agree with banning, but at least most reasons are something that is actually THERE. Of course, people can't just you know...not read it themselves...they want the book banned for everyone. Craziness.


The Relentless Reader said...

Good grief!

Green Eggs and Ham was the first book I remember reading by myself. I also remember reading it out loud to my 1st grade classmates for show and tell ;)

I had no idea what I was subjecting my fellow classmates to! ;)

Liesel K. Hill said...

Great post! I didn't know this was on the list either. Ham as a phallic symbol is definitely a reach. Besides, people bring what they want to any reading. I'd read plenty of James Joyce and actually liked a lot of it before learning much about him or what his writing (in his case probably DID) mean. But I didn't know that, so I liked it. I think people go out of their way to read into symbolism that isn't really there, just to tout their own agenda or get attention. Thanks for posting about this beloved children's classic! :D

Kelly B said...

I did not look at this book this way. Wow, makes me really thing about it now. Amazing how many banned books there are out there. Let's have fun reading them all!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

homosexual innuendo and seduction??? I must be sheltered, I would NEVER have guessed that...LOL :)
Thanks Tracy - I am really surprised on this one! You rock for participating in banned book week!

Kristi said...

Wow! That's insane. It was a favorite of mine as a child and I love reading it to my kids. It's a great one for when they're learning to sound out words because it's so repetitious, but fun and funny. People can be so silly!

Suko said...

Really?! Green Eggs and Ham was banned?! Excellent post today. I may need to borrow your list of banned books for a post of my own.

Heather said...

That takes a great imagination to come up with homosexual seduction in Green Eggs and Ham.

Trac~ said...

Thanks for this. It's stuff like this that makes me insane because they take something innocent and turn it into something provocative for no reason! It's just ridiculous! Argh. LOL. Have a good day my friend! :)

Kelly said...

Geez....I never cease to be amazed!! Green Eggs and Ham was one of my childhood favorites and I just can't see where they're getting any of that. They're just looking for things!

Joan said...

hiya thanks again for leaving a comment on my blog I hope my other photos(when I manage to post them) when evoke more memories i.e. mr moos ice cream parlour ??? knickerbocker glories ??? lol

The Bookworm said...

Oh my gosh, how dare they ban Green Eggs & Ham? That's crazy. I read this one to both my kids and still have their well read copy on my bookshelves alongside quite a number of other Dr. Suess childrens books.
Great post today!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

So... they don't like Green Eggs and Ham? Not even with a fox? In a box? *snort*

People thinking for themselves! RUN! :D

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

It really is amazing what books have been banned in the past... There's so called free speech (not that it really is), but it seems there's no free reading either!

Anonymous said...

Mmmkay. So. I worked in a day care for about four years, and we used to read 3-5 books a day before naptime. I read this book, easily, three times a WEEK for four years. And I seriously. Never EVER thought. Sexual innuendo? Wow. *speechless

Great post, dear!

Blond Duck said...

I love Dr. Suess!

DMS said...

I am often stunned at the books that are banned and totally agree with all that you had to say about Green Eggs and Ham! I think some people look way too far into things. My goodness.

Mamakucingbooks said...

sigh....why bann this book? maybe someone is just over sensitive.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

I know this has already been commented on but...homosexual innuendo and seduction???!!!

Anybody who thinks a book like Green Eggs and Ham should be banned because of "dirty" reasons clearly has a dirty mind. How weird!

Gina said...

Happy BANNED BOOKS WEEK! On the recent list, I've only read one, but I have heard of them all. *high five* ^_^ OMG on this book being banned though...and the reasons! Seems to me like whoever THOUGHT that had their mind in the gutter already. For pete's sake, it's a KIDS book! Same goes for THE LORAX and THE GRINCH...two of my favorites. Happy rebellious reading my friend!

Jenners said...

Oh Lord. I can't believe some of this stuff when I read it. It is beyond silly.

Jen | Book Den said...

The people who come up with these crazy sexual ideas when it comes to kids' books and movies! Ack! We love reading Green Eggs and Ham at our house.

Lisa said...

Dear me - I have been reading Dr. Seuss all wrong! Seriously, even if all of those so-called innuendos were intended, what child would ever in a million years catch them?!

Shelleyrae said...

I am stunned that people have perverted a simple children's book so much!

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out