Why Is The Book Where The Wild Things Are Banned

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Why Was “Where the Wild Things Are” Banned?

In the realm of children’s literature, “Where the Wild Things Are” stands as a beloved classic, capturing imaginations and fostering creativity. Yet, despite its enduring popularity, this captivating tale has faced controversy, leading to its ban in certain school districts and libraries. This article delves into the reasons behind the prohibition of Maurice Sendak’s iconic masterpiece.

Sensitive Content and Challenging Themes

The central premise of “Where the Wild Things Are” revolves around Max’s journey to a fantastical island inhabited by monstrous creatures known as “wild things.” These creatures represent the untamed emotions and impulses that reside within every child. However, some have argued that the book’s portrayal of these wild things, as well as Max’s violent interactions with them, is too intense for young readers.

The book’s depiction of Max’s tantrums and aggression, as well as the wild things’ chaotic behavior, has raised concerns about its potential to incite similar behaviors in children. Critics argue that young readers may find it difficult to distinguish between fantasy and reality, and may emulate Max’s destructive actions.

Objections to Psychological Subtexts

Beyond concerns about violence, “Where the Wild Things Are” has also been criticized for its psychological undertones. Some have interpreted the wild things as representations of Max’s repressed fears and desires, and have argued that the book’s portrayal of Max’s journey as a metaphor for the complexities of childhood development is too sophisticated for young readers to fully grasp.

Additionally, some critics have taken issue with the book’s ending, in which Max returns home after realizing that “it isn’t so much fun to be a wild thing all the time after all.” They argue that this conclusion suggests that conforming to societal expectations is more desirable than embracing one’s true self, a message that they find problematic for children.

Censorship and the Right to Read

The banning of “Where the Wild Things Are” has sparked a broader debate about censorship in children’s literature. Some argue that certain books should not be available to children due to their potentially harmful content, while others maintain that children have the right to access a wide range of perspectives and experiences.

The American Library Association (ALA) strongly opposes the banning of books and advocates for the freedom of speech. The ALA believes that children should have the opportunity to read and discuss all kinds of books, even those that may be controversial or challenging.

Tips for Parents and Educators

For parents and educators who are concerned about the potential impact of “Where the Wild Things Are” on young readers, there are a few things you can do:

  • Read the book yourself: Before allowing your child to read the book, read it yourself to assess its content and determine whether it is appropriate for them.
  • Talk to your child: If you do allow your child to read the book, talk to them about it afterwards. Ask them how they felt about the book and what they understood about it.
  • Use the book as a teaching tool: The book can be used as a starting point for discussions about emotions, behavior, and the importance of self-control.


  • Q: Is “Where the Wild Things Are” banned everywhere?
    • A: No, the book is not banned everywhere. However, it has been banned in some school districts and libraries in the United States and other countries.
  • Q: Why was “Where the Wild Things Are” banned?
    • A: The book has been banned for several reasons, including concerns about its violent content, psychological subtexts, and a perceived message that conforming to societal expectations is more desirable than embracing one’s true self.
  • Q: Is it okay for my child to read “Where the Wild Things Are”?
    • A: That depends on your child’s individual maturity level and sensitivity. If you are concerned about the book’s content, talk to your child about it before allowing them to read it.


“Where the Wild Things Are” remains a controversial book, with strong arguments both for and against its inclusion in children’s literature. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to allow a child to read the book is a personal one that should be made by parents and educators based on their own beliefs and the individual child’s needs.

Are you interested in more information about the banning of “Where the Wild Things Are”?

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