Anti profanity and swearing league Bond tegen het vloeken is sounding the alarm about the number of swear words in children’s literature.
Profanity in particular was rife in award winning books this year, the league found in its annual search. It counted 35 instances of ‘Godverdomme’ (God damn it) in four award winning children’s books against one instance last year and none in 2018.
Some 11 of the 27 books looked at contained swear words related to religion, including such euphemisms as ‘jeetje’ (short for ‘jezus’) and ‘gossie’ (short for ‘god’).
In total, 63% of winners used swear words, the highest percentage ever reported. Sjoerd Kuyper’s Bizar, Dor by Neal Shusterman and IJzerkop by Jean-Claude Rijckegem in particular are full of ‘offensive language’, the league said.
Kuyper alone accounted for half of the godverdommes while one league member said that to quote all profanity and rude language in IJzerkop would be ‘an impossible task’.
Only the book of poetry Uit elkaar by Bette Westera, which won the prestigious Gouden Griffel, contained no swear words at all.
In 2014 the amount of profanity and swear words in children’s book seemed to be going down but it has been increasing again since 2018, the league found. This year’s results could be an ‘eye opener’ for any future book jury appraising children’s literature, the league said, and focus attention on respectful language.
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