Following the Telegraph’s piece (by Martin Chilton) about the profanity in a young adult novel called When Mr Dog Bites, Bloomsbury’s Director of Children’s Books, Rebecca McNally explains why the publishers decided to allow the swearing
The book isn’t about Tourette’s, but it is very much about language – Dylan’s own curiosity and playfulness with words (not swear words) is part of the joy of the book, what makes it a-mayonnaise-ing, not shizenhowzen; you’ll all be using Dylan-isms by the time you’ve finished reading. The most offensive words in the book are those directed at Dylan and his friend Amir by the ‘normal’ kids in the park (Dylan goes to a special school, which again makes us think about language and the labels those in authority put on people, especially children). They’re offensive because they reduce, humiliate and dehumanise characters we care about. Those words: “Paki”, “spaz”, “mong”, are like verbal IEDs, and they don’t lose their power.