Pumpkin Lattes and More Banned Books

Image courtesy ALA.

Image courtesy ALA.

Did you forget Banned Books Week? Or did you celebrate fully with one copy of Lolita in your right hand and the Bible in your left? Whatever the case, we have a quiz for you.

At the ACLU and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Banned Book event fREADom on September 30, librarians from CLP delivered a Banned Books quiz to an audience that included such famous Pittsburghers as Etta Cox, Lynn Cullen, Terrance Hayes, Rick Sebak and members of LUPEC. It was delightful, dirty and an all-around a good time.

But if you missed it (or if you’re suffering Banned Books Week withdrawal), have no fear, we’ve got the questions right here. This year’s BBW celebrated young adult literature, and (hint) we did too. We’ve even linked you to other BBW lists and quizzes in some of the answers so you can keep the party going year-round, because a week isn’t enough to celebrate banned books. Enjoy! (But don’t scroll down too far! Answers are below.)


  1. This book was banned for “bringing children’s minds to a cowardly level” and undermining gender roles. It stars a girl from Kansas, her dog, a not-so-brave lion, a scarecrow and a man made of tin who all take a trek down a yellow brick road to find someone to grant their wishes.
  2. Called “trash and only suitable for the slums,” this famous American author’s book had a teenager floating down the Mississippi River with his friend, a metaphor for growing up.
  3. This book appeared on the American Library Association’s list of the most frequently challenged books, and sparked controversy when it was banned by two school districts back in 2004, five years after it was first published. In this latest instance in Wallingford, Connecticut, a parent complained because of a two-page section of the book in which the protagonist witnesses date rape—the section most often contested. In 2013, author Judy Blume came to the rescue of this book after a Chicago school district banned the book in its junior high school. Blume’s intervention sparked a nearly unanimous vote on the school board to reinstate the book later that year in a Banned Books Miracle. Hint: It’s set in Pittsburgh.
  4. Banned for alleged misogyny, author Roald Dahl humorously defended his book with this statement: “I do not wish to speak badly about women. Most women are lovely. But the fact remains that all witches are women. There is no such thing as a male witch. On the other hand, a ghoul is always a male… both are dangerous.  But neither of them is half as dangerous as a REAL WITCH.” Hint: Made into a movie starring Anjelica Huston.
  5. On the same theme, name the popular series that had many religious groups concerned about the books’ focus on witchcraft — and even went so far as to burn them (the books, not the witches) — while other groups merely think that they’re too scary and set a bad example for children.
  6. What 1982 book about a relationship between two high school girls, Annie and Liza, was burned outside of Kansas City, Kansas, school district offices because it described a blooming romantic and sexual relationship between the girls?
  7. This title is still sometimes taken off shelves or reading lists. Not because students might get nightmares reading about a family hiding in an attic until they were dragged into Nazi death camps, but because at one, brief point the 14-year-old protagonist describes her maturing anatomy.
  8. Not strictly a teen read but something that is found in every middle and high school, which fundamental book was banned in the Menifree school district in California for an entry on oral sex? Hint: It’s not a thesaurus.
  9. Can you “catch” on to this banned title? He’s a typical, if moody, teenager. He mourns the loss of his younger brother, hangs out with his younger sister and eventually gets thrown into a psychiatric treatment center. He probably thinks you are phony.
  10. Where the Sidewalk Ends author Shel Silverstein’s other book was banned for “glorifying Satan,” “suicide and cannibalism” and “encouraging children to be disobedient,” as well as the unforgivable offense of “breaking dishes so they wouldn’t have to dry them.” What is the title of this banned collection of poems?
  11. Competition arises among talking farm animals when two pigs fight for control. What is the name of this book?
  12. Banned from many school libraries, protests were lodged against this alliterative title. An interactive, illustrated book, readers looked for the character in many scenes, but detractors who got the book banned saw and objected to topless sun bathers, gay lovers and characters holding up the hail Satan sign.  Hint: The titular character is most identifiable by his red and white striped shirt and red cap.
  13. Name the title or author! This autobiographical novel, with illustrations, tells the story of a young cartoonist who leaves his Native American reservation school in order to pursue his life and studies in the all-white world of the neighboring school.  This young adult favorite has been banned for “pornographic language” and depicting scenes of sex and violence.  It won the National Book Award in 2007.
  14. Students try to get A’s in school, but that wouldn’t be good in this book. The book still places on the Banned Book list because it is considered sinful and obscene by objectors. Which Nathaniel Hawthorne book is this?
Now, think long and hard ...

“Is the answer Where’s Ralph Waldo Emerson?”
Click through for source.

Answer Key:

  1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  4. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  5. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  6. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
  7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  8. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  9. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  10. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  11. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  12. Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford
  13. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  14. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 So how did you do? Post your score in the comments below.



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2 responses to “Pumpkin Lattes and More Banned Books

  1. Pingback: Verbotene-Bücher-Quiz | dariabrath

  2. Pingback: October Recap: Banned Books, Witches and Time Travel, Oh My! | Eleventh Stack

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