The Thursday Book Beat: Censoring Children’s Books

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“Slut”: Should The Word Be In Children’s Books?

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes has been removed from an Australian supermarket chain due to complaints from parents on the inappropriate language used in the 1982 book. The unacceptable word in question is “Slut”.

‘What’s all the racket?’ Cindy cried.
‘Mind your own bizz,’ the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?
The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut?
‘Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’

In today’s culture, “slut” is a word used to put down a woman who enjoys casual sex and, as a self identified feminist, that’s not cool. However, Dahl may have been using its original meaning of physical uncleanliness. The meaning of words are fluid and change constantly, but whether a word that meant something else entirely at the time should be censored today isn’t the real question asked here. The real question is: do we need or want censorship? The answer, in my opinion, is no. A parent can decide whether or not their child should read that book or any other. Limiting access for those who do want to read it is unfair and makes for passive parenting.

Weinstein Co Gets The Rights To Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot

Speaking of Roald Dahl, the Weinstein Co has gotten the US rights (except theatrical) to Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot. It’ll be a 90 minute television adaptation that will air on BBC One, starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman.

Hoffman is Mr Hoppy, a retired bachelor who harbors a secret passion for his neighbor, Mrs Silver (Dench). Unfortunately, she lavishes all her affection on Alfie… her pet tortoise.

Demand For Diversity in Books Sparks Racist Abuse

Malorie Blackman discusses her experience with racial abuse in response to her request for more diversity in books during some interviews in the UK. I definitely recommend the read since it seems that once criticisms become gendered or racialized, they are met with abuse and that’s definitely not right.

Nick Cannon Writing A Children’s Book Of Poems

Scholastic announced Tuesday that Cannon’s “Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems” will be published in March 2015. According to the publisher, “Neon Aliens” will feature black-and-white illustrations from several street artists and will reflect Cannon’s desire to combine poetry and hip-hop. Cannon said in a statement issued through Scholastic that he has been writing poems and stories since he was 8.

Diversity! I like it and you should too. Cannon has another children’s book scheduled for October.

eBooks vs Print: The Cost Of Digital Reading

Germaine Greer comments that eBooks should cost far less than their printed comrades due to less production costs involved. She also stated that those against Amazon’s quest for lower eBook prices “…have an irrational attachment to the [printed]book. They think that a book is somehow a worthy object in itself.” I personally think that eBooks offer more money going into the pockets of the authors who, for the most part, aren’t getting paid for their work as much as they should be. This is about the authors and not really about the readers, though we strive for as many readers to have access to books as humanly possible.

The Role Of The Latest Technologies In Scientific Publishing 

Scientific research papers are often published through journals which haven’t really joined the digital publishing bandwagon. Daniel Marovitz breaks down how technology can help bring eyes to these papers more effectively through digital publishing alternatives with less publishing delays and other issues associated with this traditional form of publishing. It’s definitely something to check out and can also be used to discuss academic papers overall.

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About Author

Former senior editor for WWAC. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, The Toast and Hyperallergic.

1 Comment

  1. I reckon Dahl meant slut in the “slag, tramp, tart” playground sense. He wrote “Switch Bitch” for Playboy and was something of a rascal. I don’t think it’s a shame to lose it, tbh. It’s a word that needs to die, and Dahl has plenty of more lasting work.