How Well Do You Know Your Banned Books?

*** If you are just interested in the quiz, scroll to the bottom of the post ***

Last week many libraries across America, in one way or another, celebrated “Banned Books Week”.  The American Library Association states on its website that this week “brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles lists of challenged books  reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. You can view these lists (back to 2004-2005) at the bottom of the ALA’s banned books resource page.

My favorite display idea was this suggestion from ALA’s banned books display idea page.

CREATE a bulletin board display using a top ten list as used by David Letterman.

Ten most farfetched (silliest, irrational, illogical) reasons to ban a book.

10. “Encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” ( A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstien)
9.   “It caused a wave of rapes.” ( Arabian Nights, or Thousand and One Nights, anonymous)
8.   “If there is a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it?” ( Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown)
7.   “Tarzan was ‘living in sin’ with Jane.” ( Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
6.   “It is a real ‘downer.’” ( Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank)
5.   “The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” ( Little Red Riding Hood, by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm K. Grimm)
4.   “One bunny is white and the other is black and this ‘brainwashes’ readers into accepting miscegenation.” ( The Rabbit’s Wedding, by Garth Williams)
3.   “It is a religious book and public funds should not be used to purchase religious books.” ( Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, by Walter A. Elwell, ed.)
2.   “A female dog is called a bitch.” ( My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara)
1.   “An unofficial version of the story of Noah’s Ark will confuse children.” ( Many Waters, by Madeleine C. L’Engle)

This list was obviously compiled before this book made the list for 2014/15.

 “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.”

*********** And now for the quiz ***********

This weeks quiz is from the New York Public Library.

Books can be dangerous objects—under their influence, people start to wonder, dream, and think.

Even in 2015, censors are still challenging books, making formal attempts to remove them from curricula, schools, and libraries.

This Banned Books Week (September 27–October 3), be a little rebellious. Pick up a banned book from your local library branch, and take our quiz to find out how much you know about the fight for the freedom to read and the books that wind up in the crossfire.

If you don’t want to enter your email to find out how many you got correct (and have less than a perfect memory), have a writing instrument and a piece of paper handy. The piece of paper doesn’t have to be very large since there are only 6 questions. Click here to take the quiz and be careful that your pick is highlighted before clicking to answer.

I got a perfect score of 6 out of 6, probably since I’ve worked on a banned book display or list most every year since 2006.


8 thoughts on “How Well Do You Know Your Banned Books?

    • One thing about working at a public library for a number of years is that nothing is surprising anymore. Fortunately I work at a branch where the only complaints we get are that we don’t have enough books of certain types. This year in adult it was short story collections, science fiction and lesser known works by classic authors. So I order and order and order trying to make my collection better.


  1. 4 here too – got Harry Potter wrong because I thought it was too obvious and didn’t know the graphic novels, except Maus which I was sure it wasn’t, so guessed. The other four I felt on fairly safe ground. Like Birgit I wonder at people sometimes.


    • I only knew the graphic novel because my librarian book club read the other ones at some time. Yup, I’m in a book club with a bunch of other librarians where we pick books outside our interest areas to improve our reader’s advisory skills. But it’s amazing how often none of us get very far in the book.

      I’ve worked the reference desk at the public library so long that nothing really surprises me. Anyone, and that does mean anyone, can walk up at any time and ask me anything. I’ve only had one person challenge a book. I was covering at another branch and just forwarded his contact information to the manager. I don’t even remember the name of the book or the reason he wanted it removed from the library.


      • I must admit, I find the same with my book group which I joined to widen my reading. Very often I don’t like the book much! However, I do like the people so I keep going. I remember having trouble with Forever when I started in public libraries and having a general complaint about Halloween books, but the issues changed once I moved to an academic library.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yup. It really is when you think about the time and energy just to put in a challenge. My library system has more of a problem with people hiding books (placing in a totally different section) or stealing books that they don’t believe should be in the library.


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