Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Books Week: The Witches

The Witches are listed as 22 out of the 100 books that are most challenged according to the American Library Association website.

The Witches by Roald Dahl was one of my favorite childhood books. I can still recall to you the exact location where the book was in my elementary school library because I would take it out over and over again. I also watched the movie religiously and then times changed and I grew out of it all, became interested in other things. It wasn't until college that I found the DVD of Witches and watched it with all of my friends. It surprised me how utterly creepy all of the witches were. How could I have not been scared off by the concept as a kid? But it was all magic to me. The book sucked me in, as a kid, and the words and the imagery were inviting and fantastic.

Here are some of the 'opinions' of people who wanted the book banned:
  • witchcraft, of course
  • devaluing the life of children
  • making the distinction between some of the witches and 'nice' people were very shady

The witches are evil creatures who are disguised as women and have the intention of ridding the world of children. To them, children give off a horrible scent and with their magic poison of sorts change children into mice.

The narrator of the book, a boy, lives with his grandmother who warns him of the witches and instructs him of ways to see the difference from an ordinary woman to that of a witch. While visiting a hotel in England where a convention happens to be occurring for a group of witches. A series of unfortunate events occurs and the narrator finds himself changed into a mouse and within the clutches of the witches.

Now it's up to the boy, in his mouse form, and his elderly grandmother to try and stop the witches from continuing their pursuit of ridding children from the world and it all has to begin at the very hotel where they are staying. With the very witches that already had their powers at work.

Like I said, I loved the book as a child. I thought that the witches were creepy but for whatever reason I just could not get enough of this book. I felt that way for a lot of Roald Dahl's books. It's something fun and entertaining, something exciting and quick paced. It's a good childrens book, banned or not, and something I'll introduce to my children (if they're interested).

1 comment:

  1. These Banned Books Week resources may also be of interest:

    "American Library Association Shamed," by Nat Hentoff, Laurel Leader-Call, 2 March 2007.

    "Banned Books Week and the ALA," by Dennis Ingolfsland, The Recliner Commentaries, 4 August 2009.

    "'Censors' Are So Scary," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 6 October 2008.

    "Finding Censorship Where There Is None," by Mitchell Muncy, Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2009, p.W13.

    "National Hogwash Week," as coined by Thomas Sowell. And this resource has a long, updated list of BBW-related articles.

    "US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books," by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009. Look carefully in this reference and you will see that I align with you on witchcraft.

    "Various Humbugs Regarding Banned Books Week, by Mateo Palos, Mateo Palos, 27 September 2009.


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