Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. Banned Books Week highlights the value of free and open access to information.
In previous posts this week we have focused on books or book series. Today the focus is on a beloved children’s author who has had multiple works of his banned or challenged. You may know Roald Dahl from movies made from his books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Nearly all of those books have been challenged, assumed too dangerous for children to read.
Why? The BFG is too sophisticated and does not teach moral values. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory espouses a poor philosophy of life. The Enormous Crocodile has a sinister nature and the animals act too negatively. George’s Marvelous Medicine poses a safety threat because the boy in the story warms household items, such as paint thinner and soap, to make a potion. James and the Giant Peach is not appropriate for children, contains a foul word, has alcohol in it, and encourages children to disobey their parents. Matilda is appalling in its disrespect for adult figures and children, encourages children to disobey adults, and has crude language. The Witches entices impressionable or emotionally disturbed children into becoming involved in the occult, promotes Satanism, promotes Wicca, depicts witches as ordinary looking women, encourages children to disobey adults, and is derogatory toward children.
What can you do? Read as many of his books as possible!
Doyle, Robert P. (2017). Banned Books: Defending Our Freedom to Read. Chicago, American Library Association.