The Real Reason The Harry Potter Books Have Been Banned

J.K.Rowling may have a lot of opinions on her bestselling "Harry Potter" series, and we don't think she would be too happy about her series being banned, either. Ever since the first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was published in 1998 (via Vox), the entirely fictional series has caused an outcry amongst certain groups.

CBC reports that the book series has been subject to not just one, but six book burnings in the US. It isn't a recent thing, either; the banned book sub-website of the American Literary Association states that the "Harry Potter" books appeared on the most-banned list in schools and libraries in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2019, proving that their popularity is both enduring and opens them up to more criticism. 

Considering "Harry Potter" focuses on a young boy with no real family discovering who he is and making true friendships, it may be difficult to understand why exactly the series has stirred up so much emotion. Still, its backdrop of wizardry and witchcraft is enough to get it banned, and we don't think it will be coming off the banned book list anytime soon. 

Since its publication, the massively popular book series has come under fire

According to Insider, the "Harry Potter" series was removed from the library at St. Edward School. The school, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee, decided not to stock the books before school even started. In an email to parents, the school pastor of St. Edward School wrote,"The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text." The pastor also informed parents that he had discussed the topic with exorcists, who backed his decision to ban the books (via The Washington Post).

All the way back in 2001, The New York Times reported that the number of complaints made to the American Literary Association sharply rose from 472 in 1999 to 646 in 2000. Clearly, more and more people were becoming incensed about the content of the books, with complaints stating that they were anti-family and violent. Some even went as far as to say the books promoted Satanism and the occult.

The reason for banning these other books may surprise you

Book banning is highly subjective, but there are a handful of books that have been on library ban lists for years. A prime example of this is "The Diary of a Young Girl," aka Anne Frank's diary (via Reader's Digest). Though the book is an equally fascinating and heartbreaking insight into being Jewish during World War II, it has been banned from several schools on account of being "pornographic" (in reference to Anne discussing her anatomy), and, ridiculously, for being a "real downer." 

As reported by PEN America, 1,648 books were banned in the US between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. It's clear that the book banning hype won't quieten down anytime soon, which is why it is so important to share the knowledge and the lessons that banned books can teach. Plus, if you're looking to read more books, the banned book list is a great place to start so you can understand and express why everyone should be able to read what they like.