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West Ada School District bans Sherman Alexie novel

Staff Pick

In April, the Meridian Joint School District No. 2 (now the West Ada School District) voted to remove Sherman Alexie's young-adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian from its supplemental reading list: A grandparent caught a student reading the novel, objected to its references to masturbation and occasional use of harsh language. Speaking "from the heart," she asked the school board to "do the courageous thing and remove this book from the curriculum." The board went one step further and convened a panel to review the entire reading list. Irked by the move, two Washington fans of Alexie's work raised funds and shipped hundreds of copies of the book to Idaho, where they were distributed to students. The National Coalition Against Censorship wrote a letter to the school board, pointing out that the district could be opening itself to a First Amendment challenge, and, in the end, the school board reinstated True Diary to the reading list but with caveats: The book can't be read aloud in classrooms and is only accessible with the written consent of a parent. Sigh.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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