Meet the Woke Activists Behind the Roald Dahl Book Purge


Over the weekend, the publisher Puffin announced that it had scrubbed language deemed “insensitive” and “non-inclusive” from the works of Roald Dahl, the classic children’s book author, in some cases rewriting whole sentences and sections to align with contemporary progressive mores.

Some references to characters’ physical appearance were sanitized to avoid the impression of so-called fat-phobia, and some gendered references were neutered so as not to offend transgender readers. Prose that might be considered culturally tone-deaf was also removed.

In Dahl’s The BFG, the main character, a giant, no longer wears a “black” coat, and characters don’t turn “white with fear” anymore.

So who made these decisions about what future generations are entitled to read?

The bowdlerization was done with the blessing of Dahl’s estate by the U.K.-based consultancy Inclusive Minds, which is dedicated to “inclusion and accessibility in children’s literature.” The organization’s mission is to make mainstream books “represent every child.” Guided by this mandate, the nonprofit enlists “sensitivity readers” and “inclusion ambassadors” to rid children’s stories of supposed stereotypes and derogatory connotations.

The ambassadors range in age from eight to 30 years old and are drawn “from marginalized, under-represented or misrepresented groups and backgrounds,” according to the Inclusive Minds website. As of 2021, the organization contracted with nearly 100 ambassadors, who are tasked with connecting with children’s book creators to provide input and advice on new books.

For example, a former ambassador named Habeeba helped author Robin Stevens “ensure authentically inclusive characters” in her books The Guggenheim Mystery and Mistletoe and Murder.

The organization also works with publishers to modify existing works for re-publication, but Dahl’s case marks the first time the group has gotten their hands on the treasured collection of a world-famous, deceased author.

Read the rest of this piece at National Review.

Caroline Downey is an education reporter for National Review.

Photo: Rob Bogaerts, under CC 1.0 Public Domain.