Baffling Banned Books: A Fun (Disturbing) Quiz!

If you’ve waited to celebrate the chance to be Officially Subversive during Banned Books Week, it’s not too late!  Sure, you probably figured that Huck Finn is a perennial favorite for its politically incorrect language and Fifty Shades of Grey for its Crimes Against Ink and Trees, but I am willing to bet there are quite a few that will make you say, “Ummm. What?”  The alleged “reasons” for protecting Our Nation’s Youth are even more bizarre than you can imagine. 

We invite you to take our quiz and see if you can guess the actual arguments that succeeded in getting the following ten books on the Naughty List.


1.  Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

a)  The National Pork Council feared declining bacon sales

b)  Children were trapping dangerous spiders and being bitten

c)  A Kansas school district decided that talking animals are blasphemous and unnatural

d)  Girls were being encouraged to defy their fathers


2.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

a)  Removed from classrooms in Miller, Missouri, for ‘making promiscuous sex look like fun.’

b)  Removed from Texas libraries for “encouraging revolution”

c)  Attempted ban in California for “focusing on negativity.”

d) Both a and c


3.  Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 

a)  Accused of advocating witchcraft

b)  A psychologist claimed it advocated child abuse by denying the character Max his dinner

c)   Sendak was accused of glorifying temper tantrums which was putting young boys in danger

d)  All of the above


4.   A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

a)  Encouraged children to break dishes

b)  Children were investigating attics and being trapped

c)  A group argued that “putting something silly in the world” was code for anarchy

d)  Children were crawling into freezers, trying to find their dreams (I’ll take the dream I had last night /
And put it in my freezer)


5.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 

a) Encouraged drug use

d)  Ministers and educators challenged it for its ‘ungodly’ influence and for depicting women in strong leadership roles.

c)  Emergency rooms were admitting children who tried to dress up their pet rabbits, leading to injuries

d) Promoted gambling, especially card playing


6.  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

a) Claimed “Terebethia” is an anagram for “A Beer Tithe”

b) Encouraged runaways

c) Teachers saw an increase in swearing after assigning the book

d) Promoted secular humanism, new age religions, the occult, and Satanism

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7.  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

a)  Librarians tired of answering the question, “What the heck is a “bell jar”?

b)  Suppressed in 1970 for its “overt rejection of the woman’s role as wife and mother.”

c)  Encouraged drinking

d)  Depression became “chic.”


8.  My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara

a)   A female dog was referred to as a ‘bitch’ in the text.

b)  Encouraged an “unnatural relationship between a child and a horse.”

c)  One group claimed that “Flicka” was the name of Norse witch

d)  Parents annoyed at a sharp increase in begging for a horse for Christmas

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9.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

a)  In 1980, challenged in New York as a “filthy, trashy novel.”

b)  People who hadn’t bothered to read the book began killing mockingbirds by the thousands in Texas

c)  In 1996, Lindale, Texas banned Lee’s novel for “‘conflict[ing] with the values of the community.’”

d)  Both a and C


10.  The Rabbit’s Wedding by Garth Williams

a) After the Supreme Court upheld gay marriage rights, Monroe, Louisiana, immediately banned this book for being on the “slippery slope” which would allow animals to marry.

b)  The “Alabama state library system removed the book because it was believed the book was attacking segregation policies.”

c)  A group in Florida claimed that rabbits were associated with promiscuous sex and the book was trying to corrupt children.

d)  Both A and C

(Answers:  1. c; 2. d; 3.  d; 4. a; 5.  b; 6. d; 7.  b; 8. a; 9.  d; 10.  a)

How’d you do? We’d love to hear your thoughts about these banned books and the reasons they’ve been challenged by the public. Leave a comment below!   

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