Political correctness is purging kids books of risks

November 19th, 2007 - 2:03 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov 19 (ANI): Political correctness is taking a toll on childrens books, for publishers have now started censoring kids literature over health and safety fears.

And, the news comes straight from Lindsey Gardner, the author of 15 children’s books, who says that publishers have now banned kids from walking alone in books.

Ms Gardner revealed that publishers had insisted she change one of the scenes in her new book Who Wants A Dragon, all because it featured a dragon toasting marshmallows on flames from his nostrils as he sat around a campfire.

They insisted she change the scene because it looked “dangerous and goes against health and safety”.

“It does seem to be worse in the UK, more than anywhere else. I have never had a hassle having things changed in places like Japan,” the Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

“I have seen others kids’ books that have dragons breathing fire.”

Yet another example of this politically correct nature of publishers came to the fore when they asked her to change another scene in her novel, When Poppy and Max Grow Up, which showed a little boy climbing a ladder.

“They didn’t allow Max to be on a ladder because they thought it was precarious. But when I changed it, I had him standing on a pile of three paint cans, which is much more dangerous, and they didn’t have a problem with that,” she said.

“There is also a cooker in the story and I had one of the elements glowing red, because the cooker was switched on. But they didn’t allow that either, and I had to change it to green.”

However, try as they might, the changes did not fool their intended audience the kids.

“When I go to book signings, I sometimes take with me some colouring-in pictures, and the kids draw the elements as red because it is on and it’s hot. They are not stupid,” she added.

Nicola Morgan, an award-winning children’s author who has written more than 80 books, agrees Ms Gardner.

“In one recent story I did, I was allowed fire, alcohol, drowning and a chicken-eating python, but the one thing I didn’t get past the editor was a scene with a Ouija board,” she said.

“Children need to learn the dangers of fire and alcohol and of drowning, but the fear surrounding the Ouija board was that kids might not know what it is and go and try it.”

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has now warned publishers against censoring fiction for kids.

A spokesman said: “Honest literature opens communication and gives young people the opportunity to test their values and make positive choices for their lives.” (ANI)

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