Can You Guess the Banned Book?

The POP Project just wrapped up one of our favorite times of the year, Banned Books Week! A national celebration of the “FREADOM to read,” it’s a great time to sit down with your favorite novel and examine the reasons why communities didn’t think it was acceptable.

Many challenges are made with valient intentions, such as to protect children and the community from difficult ideas. But isn’t exposure to great ideas and stories, however difficult, the purpose of reading?

See if you can guess these books simply from the reason they were banned. Click the image to see if you were right.


This iconic absurdist novel published in 1915 was branded “decadent” and “defeatist” when the Communists seized power of the author’s native Czechoslovakia in 1948.



This book, written by an ex-pat, was originally published in Paris in 1934. It was swiftly banned in the United States. During the 1960s, the work was tried under obscenity laws, but later, the Supreme Court declared it “A Work of Literature”.



This novel that exposed the unsanitary practices of American meatpacking plants was burned in Nazi bonfires (1933) because of the author’s socialist views.



This classic children’s novel was originally banned in China and other parts of the world because the animal characters used human language, which supposedly put them on the same level as humans. No word on how they felt about waistcoats and pocket watches.



The Alphas seem to get their way with this novel. It’s been challenged and banned a number of times since it was published in 1932, largely because it makes promiscuous sex “look like fun.”



This 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning, coming-of-age novel has been challenged in school districts across the nation, including Stanford Middle School in Durham, NC, 2004. In 1981, it was challenged at the Warren, IN township schools because the book does “psychological damage to the positive integration process” and “represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature.”



In 2005, AC Reynolds High School in Asheville, NC suspended the use of this acclaimed novel about two Afghani boys because a sexual assault depicted in the book violates the state’s abstinence-only sex education policy.



Banned Books Week is an annual event that promotes education over censorship. The week is organized by the American Library Association (ALA) and is typically held on the last week of September, which for 2016 fell from September 26–October 1. During this time, the ALA draws attention to the harms of censorship by highlighting the benefits of intellectual freedom and access to information, while addressing attempted and successful book bannings across the nation.

Books featured during the week have been challenged in communities around the country by parents, schools, libraries, and other organizations. Thanks to the efforts of booksellers, librarians, teachers, and community members, many book challenges have failed and the books have remained in circulation.