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Idaho Parents Call the Cops on Teen Giving Out Free Copies of Banned Book

Idaho Parents Call the Cops on Teen Giving Out Free Copies of Banned Book

Here’s an awesome story of a high school junior who is ready to stand up for what she believes in.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was taken off the reading list of Meridian School District in Meridian, Ida., earlier this month, after complaints that the book was anti-Christian and included graphic sexual content. It is currently under review but is still available in school libraries.

Alexie’s novel tells the story of a Native American who ends up going to high school at a mostly white urban school and faces bullying and other problems.

Brady Kissel, a junior at Mountain View High School in Meridian, didn’t agree with the decision to ban the book and decided to do something about it. Last week, Kissel handed out 350 free copies of the book at a local park.

She told local station KBIO complaints about the book were misguided:

Kissel says, “There’s a paragraph right here where it has some sexual content. But if you look at it it’s a paragraph this big in a 230 page book.” That page reads ‘If God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs.”

Call the Cops!

Apparently, some concerned citizen in Meridian didn’t approve of handing out Alexie’s book to teenagers without parental permission and called the police. I wonder if this person has any idea what teenagers can easily gain access to online these days?

In any case, those cops had enough sense to see that they had no reason to be there. They told Kissel that there was nothing wrong with what she was doing and left.

Where did Kissel get all those books?

Rediscovered Books in Boise donated 700 copies to give out for free (thanks to donations and help from the publisher). Kissel gave away 350 copies of the book in the park and plans to do another giveaway next week.

This kind of knee-jerk reaction to a book reminds me what happened in a grade school in California a few years ago.

Banning the Dictionary?

A mother in Menifee, Calif., asked the Menifee Union School District to ban all copies of the 10th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary after her child stumbled across the term “oral sex.” District officials complied with her request immediately and pulled all dictionaries off classroom shelves throughout the Southern California school district, which serves 9,000 kids, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Banning books from schools for little or no reason is a time-worn practice.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is in fact #3 on the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom list of the most frequently challenged books for 2013, a list the group puts together to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.

Top Ten Banned Books

Here’s the complete list for 2013:

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

Alexie, a Native American writer, is clearly in some good company. Now I think I’ll grab a copy of his book, since I haven’t read it for a while.

A big shout-out to Brady Kissel for taking a stand!

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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151 comments

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3:56PM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

How will we learn if they keep banning books.

9:41AM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

David B.: What you advocate is nthing but common sense and it is my opnions that parents are no different than American politicianswhen it comes to common sense ideas: they're as AFRAID f it as traditional vampires are of garlic, sunlgiht, silver, wooden stakes/crosses.crucifixes, holy water and roses!

8:41AM PDT on May 18, 2014

Way to go Brandy and as a high school teacher I applaud your stand. Most of these books should not be banned. Nothing like having censorship in public schools thus crippling the critical thinking process. Of course this is exactly what the neo-con Right wing nuts want. Anything to appease the mega corporations whom actually now run our countries. Democracy as we once know it is all but extinct!

8:41AM PDT on May 18, 2014

Way to go Brandy and as a high school teacher I applaud your stand. Most of these books should not be banned. Nothing like having censorship in public schools thus crippling the critical thinking process. Of course this is exactly what the neo-con Right wing nuts want. Anything to appease the mega corporations whom actually now run our countries. Democracy as we once know it is all but extinct!

9:29PM PDT on May 5, 2014

I don't think anyone has the right to ban books. I find this ridiculous. It's like TV. You don't like what they're showing, change the channel. I'm sorry she got the cops called on her for doing something she believes in.

8:47AM PDT on May 5, 2014

Good for Brady! Some kids have a whole lot more sense than adults. Thanks for sharing.

8:40AM PDT on May 5, 2014

Good for the kid, the publisher and the cops, who acted with common sense for once. I hope they charged the moralistic moron who called them for the cost of their trip to the park.

4:33PM PDT on May 4, 2014

Thanks for sharing your perspective.

8:56AM PDT on May 4, 2014

Boy people are stupid. Of course banning makes a thing more enticing. But people need to get a grip.

8:20AM PDT on May 4, 2014

While I agree 50 shades is ceertainly not shicld material LOLOLOl there are many adults who are intrigued by the ideas presented. HOW or WHY the bahavior is apporached is way more immportant than the actual deviancy. It IS after all a wildlly successful book.

Be that as it may….. hiding material from kids simply doesnt work….. Programs that had questionable behavior in it were at times viewed by me and my children together. And by questionable I dodnt mean sexual although there were shows that discussed sex inappropriately and when they were of age we discussed why it was inappropriate thinking. But vilence and many other shows were watched with the ame scrutiny and life lesssons from daddy about why such and such behavorier was absolutely wrong.
I ddint hide that people did ugly things to each other I prepared them for the eventuality.
I prepared them with the appropriate respoonse. In other words I empowered them.
I educated thrum. That IS a aprents job after all….not hiding shit from them, Not pretending sex is dirty and ugly and should be hidden behid closed doors with the lights off. Not preteneding unfettered greed is acceptabel behavior etc etc. We discussed bullying and why it happened. My wife wasnt always happy about these discussions……but my kids have thanked me hundreds of times as they grew into adulthood for PREPARING them for life as it happens….not as we wished it would happen.

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Sounds like this could well turn out to be a California Cluster.

Terrible. How can he plead not guilty? Petition gladly signed, thank you.

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