The author of the popular horror book series “Goosebumps” has recently admitted to being ignorant about some versions of his books being edited by the publisher.
American novelist R.L. Stine is the creator of the Goosebumps series of books, which is considered the second-highest selling in the world, trailing only Harry Potter. Goosebumps is estimated to have sold over 300 million copies worldwide. During a 2018 ebook re-release, publisher Scholastic edited the books to align with progressive ideologies that reflect a leftist version of social justice, diversity, and gender equality. There were rumors that Stine made the edits, but the author has refuted it.
“The stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps. Any changes were never shown to me,” Stine said in a March 7 tweet. He was replying to another Twitter user’s post, which said, “The fact he supports censorship and the alteration of works of art is quite disturbing. How shameful.”
The 1996 book “Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns” described a character as “tall and good-looking, with dark brown eyes and a great, warm smile.” It has now been changed to “tall and good-looking, with brown skin, dark brown eyes, and a great, warm smile.” The line “all four people were very overweight” was changed to “All four people were huge,” cited the British newspaper The Times.
“Don’t Go to Sleep!” from 1997 had a boy dismissing Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina as “girl’s stuff.” The boy dismisses the book in the new version because it is “not interesting.”
The word “crazy,” which was mentioned multiple times in the Goosebumps series, has been removed and replaced with terms like “scary,” “wild,” “silly,” “stressed,” and “lost her mind.” The word “nutcase” has been replaced with “weirdo” while “a real nut” has been changed to “a real wild one.
Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, insists the edits were necessary to keep up with the times. “Scholastic reviewed the text to keep the language current and avoid imagery that could negatively impact a young person’s view of themselves today, with a particular focus on mental health,” said the publisher, according to The Times.
A line from the 1997 book “I Live in Your Basement” that originally said, “did he really expect me to be his slave—forever?” has been changed to “did he really expect me to do this—forever?” removing the word “slave.”
A character from the 1998 novel “Bride of the Living Dummy” was originally dressed as a clown with black rings painted around his eyes. The color of the rings has been changed to red.
‘Woke’ Children’s Literature
In an interview with “American Thought Leaders” last year, writer Bethany Mandel said that the children’s book industry is now “extremely woke,” with books focusing on “racial justice,” “inclusion,” and “equity” that are pushed by advocates of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
“It’s a pretty toxic way to raise a child to either peg them as victim or victimizer, and all of those things come with emotional baggage,” said Mandel about the books used to teach CRT. “A white 4–year–old boy is not a victimizer, and a black 4–year–old girl is not a victim—they are equal humans.”
“There’s a new picture book, ‘The ABCs of AOC.’ So, ‘A’ is for Activist, ‘B’ is for the Bronx, and there’s all of that very overt indoctrination, but I think what’s more damaging is the very subtle indoctrination,” she said.
In a May 2022 commentary at The Epoch Times, Stu Cvrk, a graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, pointed out that American bookseller Barnes & Noble has been engaging in “LGBTQ activism” after activist hedge fund Elliott Management acquired it in 2019.
“A visit to the Barnes and Noble store in Billings, Montana, provided witness to the changing values of the bookseller in 2022,” he wrote.
“A centrally-located, pyramid-shaped display featured many LGBTQ-related books, pamphlets, journals, and other items. Upon inspection, some material could only be classified as pornography under traditional definitions.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to Scholastic for comment.