Public libraries have had to withdraw dozens of long-standing children’s favourites after parents complained they were offensive.
Anxious adults have taken action over stories deemed to be racist, blasphemous, violent or otherwise unsuitable, a survey has revealed.
Roald Dahl was among those criticised, with his Revolting Rhymes and Even More Revolting Rhymes singled out over the celebrated author’s use of supposedly coarse language.

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I was shocked and dismayed when I read this article this morning, I nearly choked on my cornflakes because I couldn’t believe that Roald Dahl books were being banned in this day and age.  The most shocking part of the whole issue is that parents seem to lack the ability to sensor the books that they don’t wish their children to read themselves.

Books are meant to provoke different reactions in us, if a story makes you laugh, cry, feel repulsed or enlightened about a subject you don’t know much about it has been written very well.  The books causing the most problems seem to be ones written pre-political correctness which means that they do brutalise human interaction and the characters aren’t awfully nice to each other.  This is what makes these stories so wonderful, I haven’t read Tin Tin, not because I would be deeply offended but just because the stories have never appealed to me.  However I have devoured Roald Dahl books and still dream about going to a wonderful chocolate factory and as for Verruca Salt, Gustav Gloop, Mike Tvee and Violet Beauregard going down the rubbish shoots – well it serves them right.  I have to admit to self editing Enid Blyton’s ‘Magic Faraway Tree’, not for my son’s benefit but my own because the old fashioned probably very pretty name in its day, ‘Fanny’, just made me giggle so I called her Fiona.  When I was a child I only thought the word existed as a name and not anything else.

Children love feeling scared, upset and happy when they are looking at stories, we have a pop up Chronicles of Narnia book that has a huge pop up Aslan roaring on the front page, my son has always hidden from the picture scared but now asks to see the lion book so that he can run away and scream.  At the moment there is great concern about boys not being interested in reading and censoring these books will take away a slugs and snails genre of books that are fairly easy to read and have good amounts of string, chewing gum and conkers in them to promote a glint in boy’s eyes.

Another article at the end of last week talks about children getting interested in porn and parents not being able to control what their children access on the Internet and have run along to ‘big nanny’ to do censorship at the source.  If parents continue to push responsibility of what they expose their children to to the government we are going to end up with a generation of zombies who don’t use their initiative or are afraid of having their own ideas. Pioneers in the past would probably not be allowed to explore these days because of the risk involved and the need to find someone to sue if it goes wrong.  When my son is old enough to use the computer without banging the keys he will be under our supervision and will be in the room with us until he has learnt to be responsible – poor boy will not be having a television or computer in his bedroom because that will always be for reading and sleeping in.  He will use a computer in a room that we can access without disturbing his privacy.

Maybe there should be a banned shelf in the library so that ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ can sit on the shelf next to ‘A Clockwork Orange’, hey chocolate orange – delicious 🙂

Public libraries have had…

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April 2012

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