Concept 5: Freedom of Expression

Challenged Books Activity

Below are the titles and brief plot summaries of several books. Check the boxes beside the titles that you believe may have been challenged and/or banned from use in schools across Canada. When you're finished click 'Submit' to see your score

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A family is accidentally sent an orphaned girl when they were expecting to be adopting a boy, but decided that they would keep this head-strong girl.

not challenged

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter's name is given by the goblet of fire as the fourth Champion and is required to complete three exceedingly difficult tasks.


Lord of the Flies by William Golding

An all-boy class of students is marooned on a tropical island. Problems arise when they attempt to organize themselves as a community in order to survive on the island.


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

A young boy who escapes an abusive father by rafting down the Mississippi River meets a runaway slave whom he tries to liberate.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Fictional Holden Cauldfield narrates his experiences in New York City after being expelled from school. The narrative is “a coming to terms” with his past.


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

A series of books set in the fantastical world of Narnia and its surrounding countries. The struggle between good and evil is a constant theme throughout the books.

not challenged

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

A young girl travels to find her imprisoned father/uncle and her missing friend, Roger Parslow. The fantasy novel is set in a parallel universe.


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The story presents a society in the near future in which the roles of women are clearly defined by a patriarchal authoritarian government guided by a strict devotion to religion.


The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkein

This trilogy follows a fellowship of diverse adventurers on their quest to destroy an evil ring of power.

not challenged

The Wars by Timothy Findlay

The novel is narrated by a fictional historian who is looking back on the wartime experiences of a young officer in the Canadian military during the World War I.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Set in the 1930's Alabama, Scout and Jem Finch grow to understand that the world is not always fair and that prejudice does exist. Their neighbourhood and their father contribute greatly to these understandings.


Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

This is the story of a boy's desire to raise and own two raccoon hunting dogs and follows the boy and his dogs through many hunting adventures.

not challenged

Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille

The book follows John Corey and his wife Kate Mayfield in their attempt to prevent the Custer Hill Club members from destroying American cities in order to ensure that the Wild Fire protocol is launched.

not challenged

Submit Reset

Now that you know which books have been challenged in Canadian schools, choose one and research it. Using all available research material (the Internet, the library, the actual book itself) find out as much as you can about your selected book. Once you've become an expert on your topic answer the following questions.

Why do you think this title was challenged or banned from use in Canadian schools?

Do you agree with these reasons? Why or Why not?

Do you think students would benefit from studying this book? Why or Why not?

Do you agree that banning or challenging books in sometimes necessary? What are the dangers and benefits of challenging or banning books from use in classrooms across Canada?

Disclaimer - The resources presented in this learning tool, the Charter in the Classroom: Students, Teachers and Rights (CC: STAR) are included only to assist in the study of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They do not necessarily represent an endorsement of a position or issue, opinion or view of its contributors, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Inukshuk Wireless, the Ontario Justice Education Network, the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust or any of the people, organizations, or institutions affiliated with it.