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So, this happened: Someone called the cops on a teenager for giving away free books.
At—wait for it—a book giveaway event.
Just last week, we wrote about the difficulties Sherman Alexie’s acclaimed Young Adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, had faced during its four-year-run as one of the most banned books in the U.S.
Two weeks ago, parents in the Idaho school district of Meridian successfully campaigned to remove Alexie’s novel from its 10th-grade reading curriculum and additional reading lists.
Wednesday night, irate parents literally called the cops to the scene where Meridian teens were passing out free copies of Alexie’s novel. Boise news station KBOI reported that even the cops were baffled about why they’d been asked to police a book giveaway.
A National Book Award-winner, The Absolutely True Diary is a searing coming-of-age story about a Native American teenager who decides to attend an all-white high school outside of his reservation. It’s a powerful narrative about modern race relations in the U.S. But the Meridian school board sided with parents who objected to its alleged sexual and anti-Christian content, along with, as noted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, other stuff:
[A]n adult named Lonnie Stiles complained that the Alexie novel contains language “we do not speak in our home.”
Apparently the adults who objected to the book weren’t thinking about the teens living on Idaho’s four Native American reservations.