Ok, class, clear your desks — it’s POP QUIZ TIME! Test your knowledge of these banned books and the crazy stories behind them to earn your banned books merit badge. I hope you’ve been paying close attention this week, but just in case, here are a couple of cheat sheets:

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom

Sharpen your no. 2 pencils and let’s get started!


1. Which of the following books was NOT challenged because of sexy fun times (or nekkidness or other perceived naughty business)?

  • Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan. 
  • How To Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson. 
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. 
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. 

2. True or False: Reported book challenges were down in 2009 from a decade earlier.

3.  Jon Stewart’s America (The Book) was banned from schools and Wal-Mart stores for what reason:

  • Pictures of George W. snorting cocaine. 
  • Nude photos of Supreme Court justices. 
  • Anti-capitalist sentiments.
  • A dirty letter written by John Adams to his wife, Abigail. 

4.  What do these children’s books have in common: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin, Jr.; And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; and King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland?

  • They’re all about gay animals.
  • They’re all Caldecott Award winners. 
  • They all portray violence. 
  • They’ve all been banned or challenged. 

5.  Which of the following ironic book-banning stories is true?

  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut was burned, not by Nazis, but by friendly midwestern folks in Drake, North Dakota.
  • 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are often banned.
  • Anti-racist classics To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain are banned for the racial content.
  • People have tried to ban the dictionary.
  • All of the above.


1.  Which of the following books was NOT challenged because of sexy fun times (or nekkidness or other perceived naughty business)?

 Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling has been banned for a zillion other reasons — anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence — but Ron and Lavender’s sloppy slobbering, Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione (FINALLY) and even Dumbledore’s gay gayness weren’t enough for the banners. either that, or they just quit reading before the series got that far.

2.  True or False: Reported book challenges were down in 2009 from a decade earlier.

True, but just barely. ALA received 460 reports of challenges to books in 2009, down from 472 in 1999. It’s also down from 2008, and way down from 1995, when there were more than 700 challenges. I guess the teabaggers are too busy storming Washington to pay attention to what their kids are reading. Either that or they’re becoming more and more illiterate and aren’t able to be offended since they can’t read.

3.  Jon Stewart’s America (The Book) was banned from schools in Mississippi (and Wal-Mart stores) for what reason:

Panty-less photos of Supreme Court justices got the book banners’ panties in a twist over this book. All I can say is they should be damn glad the pictures are photoshopped images, not actual nude pics. Cos if I had to see Clarence Thomas nekkid, I’d probably go all Anita Hill, too.

4.  What do these children’s books have in common: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin, Jr.; And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; and King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland?

They’ve all been banned or challenged. Tango and King both have the whammy of gay gayness, but Brown Bear is even more sinister — it’s COMMUNIST (duh, couldn’t they tell from the title that it’s an allegory of the Soviet bear spying on us?). No foolin’, y’all, this book was removed by the Board of Education in my fair state of Texas because board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford (contact her here, and feel free to submit proposals for scrogginsing up her name in the comments). Why? Because SHE GOT CONFUSED. There’s another Bill Martin who wrote a book called Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation. so of COURSE it had to be the same Bill Martin, because NO TWO PEOPLE could have the same name. Bonus points? The evil commie book was written in 2008, and Brown Bear‘s Martin died in 2004. So not only is Bill Martin, Jr, a commie, he’s a ZOMBIE COMMIE.

5.  Which of the following book-banning stories is true?

All of the above stories are true, which just goes to show you BOOK BANNERS HAVE NO BRAINS (maybe they got eaten by zombie commie Bill Martin, Jr. and his great Soviet brown bear).


0-2 answers correct

A merit badge with a Smokey the Bear face on top of a burning book.

Smokey the Banning Bear

Join forces with Bill Martin, Jr.’s commie bear to round up those deviant books. Remember, only you can prevent book banning fires!

3-4 answers correct

A merit badge with a rainbow behind a typewriter.

Secretary of the Gay Agenda

Straight people betta watch out for you, cos your mind’s polluted enough by all these homosexual agenda banned books that you could write Tiny Cooper’s diary for him, you threat to family values, you.

All 5 answers correct

A merit badge with a van that says "driver of the smutmobile"

Driver of the Smutmobile

Congrats! Your knowledge of book banning earned you the right to drive the Smutmobile (a trailer hired by an Oklahoma City group called Mothers United for Decency in 1961, used to display objectionable materials).

Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.