Banned Books Mix + Match Game

Michael Gormon, librarian and former president of the American Library Association, has said that banning books not only hinders tolerance and acceptance, but also limits the information exchange Americans hold dear — so Banned Books Awareness Week is all about upholding that fundamental value. In observance of #BBAW11, we’ve put together a brief (and hopefully fun) literary quiz about banned books. See if you can match the statement about the book with its cover.

1. Published in 1951, this novel, written by a famously reclusive American author, has been repeatedly banned and challenged for reasons such as “profanity,” “sexual references,” and the charge that it “undermines morality.” The novel’s protagonist has become an icon for teenage rebellion. (Hint: the protagonist’s name means “deep valley” and has grown in popularity in recent years.)

2. The movies Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, and Apt Pupil were all based on short stories from this book, which was removed from the West Lyon Community School library in Larchwood, Iowa in 1987 because it did not meet the standards of the community. (Hint: This best-selling horror author is famous for pinning his many rejection letters to his wall and has published a popular craft book called On Writing.)

 3. The entire Concord Books catalog was declared “obscene” by U.S. Customs in 1944 because it featured this book by a French novelist and playwright. (Hint: the descriptive word in this title means “Curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.”)

4. This Newbery Award winner has been removed from classrooms and libraries due to “profanity, disrespect of adults, and an elaborate fantasy world that might lead to confusion.” (Hint: this children’s classic was made into a movie in 1985 and then remade in 2007.)

5. Challenged in the Waterloo, Iowa schools because of profanity and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled, this book was also downgraded from “required” to “optional” on the summer reading list for 11th graders in the Upper Moreland, Penn. School District in 2000. (Interesting fact: this dystopian novel was inspired by The Canterbury Tales.)

6. Students at the Venado Middle School in Irvine, California received copies of the book with words deemed to be “offensive” crossed out. Students and parents protested, and after being contacted by the media, school officials agreed to stop using the expurgated copies. Ironically, this book is about the fear of certain books creating too much individualism and independent thought. (Interesting fact: the entire novel was written on a pay typewriter in the basement of UCLA’s Powell Library and was serialized in the 1954 March, April and May editions of Playboy.)

7. This book was banned from a Barnes & Noble store in San Diego, California in 1995 for being “too controversial for the bookstore’s conservative clientele.” (Hint: the title alone makes this book a very obvious lightning rod for religious controversy.)

8. A teacher was fired after purchasing this novel for the classroom, with approval by both the superintendent and the principal of Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. The book, found to be unsuitable, was banned and seized from students while they were reading it in class. (Hint: the book is about a woman who is attacked for her lesbianism after opening a bookstore for women in Boston.)

9. Prohibited in a Jacksonville, Florida Forrest High School advanced placement English class, this book led to the arrest of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the City Lights bookstore manager, Shigeyoshi Murao, on charges of selling obscene material. A judge found them not guilty. (Hint: the title poem is considered one of the principal works of the Beat Generation.)

10. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel was banned in Amarillo, Texas in 1962 because of “political ideas” and because the author was cited by the House Un-American Activities Committee. (Hint: this novel about a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp won the Pulitzer Prize For Fiction in 1956.)

Thanks so much for staying with us all week through our coverage of Banned Books Awareness Week! Let us know in the comments if you’re able to match all ten titles with their trivia blurbs! (We’ll be proud of you if you can!)

Thanks for reading, everyone — Bill

3 thoughts on “Banned Books Mix + Match Game

  1. 1. "Catcher in the Rye"2. "Different Seasons"3. "Droll Stories"***4. "Bridge to Terabithia"5. "Handmaid's Tale"***6. "Fahrenheit 451"7. "The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read"8."The Education of Harriet Hatfield"9. "Howl"10. "Andersonville"******Educated guesses after process of elimination.Fun quiz!

  2. I could only guess a few. But it was interesting to know that some books can be prohibited just because of profanity, sexual references and much more those that bears political theme.

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