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Kids' Health Kids' Health

The Giving Tree ~ banned?

Posted by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 1:57 PM
  • 16 Replies

Shel Silverstein is no stranger to controversy. A light in the Attic, and Where the Sidewalk Ends have both been banned in various schools, at various times.

Now schools are forbidding The Giving Tree, for young children. Among the reasons for the censorship, are the displays of male chauvinism, as evidenced by the boy thanklessly taking from the tree referred to as "she". Then there is the predatory nature of the boy, who is always taking, and never giving back to the tree. The depressing nature of the story has also been cited. The boy takes, the tree gives, and both die old and decrepit. The final straw seems to be that the story undermines parental authority, as it illustrates that the tree is able to meet needs that the boy's parents cannot meet. (i.e. Why is he seeking shelter, and a "voice" from outside sources?)

 

I have my feelings on this matter, but what are yours?

Has this book been banned in your schools? Have your kids read it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 1:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
batjmom
by Sarah on Sep. 19, 2011 at 2:01 PM

 This is one of my all time favorite books.  Its not banned at my kids school none of Shel Silverstein's books are. Actually my 4th grader just checked out Where the sidewalk ends last week. 

Amaranth361
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM

 Have read it to my kids who loved it. I love all his works, they are fun and if you are paying attention they have an overall good message.

Honestly, people try too hard to find issues with things. They need to relax and pay attention and the morals of the stories would be there to see but they are so focused on surface details they become blind.

Not sure if the schools around here have banned it or not but it will never be banned at my home so I dont really care.

karamille
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I don't like this book at all, but just because it is not my favorite shel silverstein book (I think the kid is a @sshole and the tree a people pleaser martar to the 10th degree) there is nothing ban-able about this book.  I rarely think books should be censored. 

rkoloms
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 5:53 PM

this sounds like an urban myth. do you have a news article to share?

deedee3849
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 7:09 PM

I have never read it. I have heard about it though.

TheGreatCthulhu
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 7:56 PM

I liked the book when I was a kid, but thought the boy was a selfish jerk and felt bad for the tree.  I think banning it is completely unnecessary.

www.obsidiansoda.com

Vertical15
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 10:17 PM

I've honestly never read them.  I've seen them at all sorts of bookstores but I think they are overpriced.

DJAKoala
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 10:22 PM

I have the book and have read it to my oldest (when he was 7) he is 9. I have not read it to my 5 year old.  I think people disect books to much.  To each his own.

LostTheSlipper
by on Sep. 19, 2011 at 11:39 PM
I read this book using "voices" (you know, a different voice for the boy, one for the tree)to my then 5yo and by the end he was crying. Yeah, the boy in the book is selfish but I can't see it being banned.
rebmarie90
by on Sep. 20, 2011 at 12:05 AM

I grew up with all three of these books and I have The Giving Tree on my kids' bookshelf! It is my favorite! I read it in school when I was younger and couldn't get enough. I never felt those things about the book before! My kids aren't old enough to be in school, but I really hope it isn't banned! I love Shel Silverstein. 

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