Upon reading my list of banned or challenged books, most people are shocked at the controversies surrounding such children's classics as Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Wayside School is Falling Down. Although the books contain none of the typical material that usually instigates a book challenge (i.e.profanity, sexual reference, etc.), they are accused with a new cause for concern: defying parental authority.
Roald Dahl's Matilda is the fictional story of a child prodigy who is born to idiot parents in a dishonest world. This title character takes it upon herself to remove her school's tyrannical headmistress and save the sanity of her teachers and friends. Watchful parents, however, claim that this story of an intelligent child questioning her elders will spark disobedience in its young readers.
They're solution? Don't discipline your children, just abolish any outside influence that would cause them to think for themselves.
So if kids can't read Matilda, what can they read? If parents don't want their kids influenced by a smart, witty, bookworm, what kind of role models are they looking for?
Matilda has no mention of violence, sex, or anything even mildly offensive. I recently reread it to see if I could find the part(s) in question, but came away only with a moral message: Nice guys (girls, in this case) do finish first. A book that simply has the potential to inspire disobedient activities in children cannot be removed from public library shelves. If you are looking for a generation of brainwashed Hitler youth, then burn Matilda. If you see the immorality in banning a book that might just be enlightening, then please give me your opinion!
List of Banned/Challenged Books
The First Amendment
Banned Book of the Month
Education for a Sustainable Future
Contribute to Page 451!
Threats to Free Speech
Freedom FROM Religion?
Ray Bradbury on Censorship