Attempt to ban book backfires with 700 copies given away in the community

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Attempt to ban book backfires with 700 copies given away in the community

Apr 28 2014

Earlier this year, the local school board in Meridian, Idaho, removed Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian from the 10th grade curriculum following complaints by some parents.

Hundreds of students signed a petition to have the book returned. When Washington State residents, Sara Baker and Jennifer Lott, heard of the petition, they spearheaded a fundraising drive to purchase 350 copies of the novel.

Using the funds raised, Rediscovered Books in Boise bought the books and on World Book Night, Brady Kissel, a student from nearby Junior Mountain View High School, went to Kleiner Park in Meridian to distribute copies. Within an hour the police showed up having been called by someone concerned that teenagers were being giving copies of a book without their parent's permission. After talking with Kissel the police concluded that "they found nothing wrong with what was going on in the park."

Alexie's publisher, Little Brown, has donated a further 350 copies which will be distributed to local and school libraries, and teachers in need of classroom sets. Any remaining copies will be given away to the public.

Alexie, who in the past has said that sales of his books always spike when there is an attempt to ban any of them from the curriculum, wrote in an email to his publisher, "I am honored by the hundreds of Meridian students who showed incredible passion and courage for books....Mine, yes, but literature in general. And Sara Baker and Jennifer Lott are friggin' superheroes. If I ever get caught in a fire, I'm calling them."

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