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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