Marquette, MI – September 29, 2014 – The best books are the ones that make you ask questions. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with that sentiment. Sometimes I’ll take a glance over the lists of books that have been challenged – or outright banned – in schools and shake my head.
The book in the hot seat a lot this year is one my favorites: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Having read the book, I still don’t see what the problem is, but there you go. It’s a funny, touching narrative that’s basically a coming of age story. Reading it will give you some insight into a world and culture you might not be familiar with and that’s not a bad thing.
There’s a fun little story that circulated around the ‘net about this book a while back. Maybe you’ve heard this one:
Earlier this year, some parents in the Meridian Idaho school district got the book removed the 10th grade reading curriculum and additional reading lists. That’s depressing, but wait, it gets funny.
The kids who actually attend the district fought back and organized a petition to have the book reinstated. In response, Sara Baker and Jennifer Lott of Washington crowdfunded a campaign buy copies of the book for each of the 350 students who signed the petition. The campaign raised $3,400 – that’s a lot of books.
Junior Mountain High School student Brady Kissel organized the giveaway at their local bookstore, Rediscovered Books, as as part of a national book giveaway event called World Book Night. They had no problem giving away all but 20 copies of Alexie’s book.
Of course, one of the offended parents called the cops, because unauthorized reading was happening. If you’re confused by that statement, don’t worry, so were the cops who arrived on the scene to find teenagers armed with fully loaded literature.
As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword.
What’s your favorite banned book?