Once upon a time in a school library

In three states of America they have banned Harry Potter books on the basis that they promote the witchcraft and the occult. Recently parents have called for English schools to clean out their libraries of children's books that contain too much violence or deal with 'offensive' or 'unacceptable' themes and ideas. To me this extreme paranoia seems ridiculous and over the top.
When I was younger one of my favourite stories that my Dad read to me was Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book' which bears very little resemblance to the Disney video in which everybody sings, dances and eats vast amounts of fruit. Even the 'Just So stories' were far more violent than most people would expect. Crocodiles that try to eat baby elephants and whales are both carnivorous and very hungry. My point is that despite all this so called 'exposure' I haven't grown up warped or abnormal (well not much).
Anyone who has ever read 'Grimm's fairytales' must be aware that classic children's literature contains more blood than your average horror story, in 'The Goose Girl' a decapitated horse's head talks to the heroine; now how would Disney work that in? Parents claim that such stories give children Nightmares but the most important aspect of that kind of fairy tale is that, whatever else happens, the villains always get what's coming to them. In no real fairytale is the villain forgiven or banished from the kingdom, they are either caught up in their own evil spell and cursed or they are killed in a righteous battle with the hero. I think this is a far more reassuring ending for the children involved because it doesn't even leave the possibility that they are, at this very moment, upstairs in your bedroom cupboard.
Take Hansel and Gretel for example, I have never met a child who is struck with pity and horror when the evil old witch is shoved in to her own oven. If she had only been shown the error of her ways and allowed to go free I, personally, might have developed quite a phobia for enchanted forests or, even more disabling, for gingerbread.
Even if you don't share this point of view, any parent that believes their child can't tell the difference between reality and fiction is probably out of touch with reality themselves. Contrary to popular adult belief, children are not stupid. Many can not only tell the difference between 'Ellie the elephant' and a fully grown African bull elephant but also know which one to cuddle and which one to avoid. Perhaps we should ban Winnie the Pooh in case they get the wrong idea about bears. Besides, as far as Harry Potter is concerned what does it matter if they discover the deepest secrets of magic, wouldn't it be rather useful to have a wizard in the family?
A child's imagination should be considered just as important as their ability to count. Excitement in stories encourages young people to read and that improves their vocabulary, their ability to express ideas which is a vital skill. I believe that you would be better off banning 'The Famous Five' or 'Goosebumps' which are boring, badly written and Enid Blyton writes in a very sexist way. I also think that Roger Red Hat and his colourful neighbours should be given more interesting things to do, oh how the lesson's used to drag! I would also like to see more multi-cultural literature in schools, more than the token black person slipped in to the storyline. I was always fascinated (and still am) by folk tales from distant shores, stories of genji and fisherman, Vikings and thunder Gods. As far as people's religious objections to 'the occult' go, The Bible has some particularly violent and obscure stories. No wonder young people went wild for J K Rowling's books it gives them a reason to read at last.