And once again schools show that the best way to get kids to read a book is to ban it.
I always wonder how many of the parents who are against a book have bothered to read the book cover to cover themselves. I bet there’s a bunch who just have heard bad things about it or make assumptions about it and jump on the ban-wagon.
I think it would be much better for the whole community if when a book is in question, the parents all are encouraged to read it. And to lodge a complaint, they have to make an A on a test about the book to prove they have read and comprehend the work they want to keep out of the school curriculum. And for the parents, it would be a great opportunity to deal with the book within their own family. They can read it, and if they deem it valuable, even if maybe somewhat inappropriate for a classroom setting, they can discuss it with their kids, sort of parental guidance book club style, discussing the issues in the book, the things that touchy subjects and why, the things that conflict with their values and world-view and why, etc. If they deem it valueless or wholly inappropriate even as a jumping off point for some great family discussion, they can at least be able to discuss with their kids openly and honestly exactly why the book isn’t a good fit for them at this age or why it’s not a good choice overall. And so many parents reading something intently and possibly discussing it with other parents and with their kids is a great thing. It doesn’t matter if the book turns out to be something that they discover is okay for the classroom, or maybe even GREAT for the classroom, or maybe even wrong for the classroom. Getting them all involved in active reading and discussing literature is a good thing.
If you do it that way you’ll never ban any book. The kind of people who are adamant about banning books will insist that they never read “that filth” in the first place. Usually they’re just along for the ride because they heard from someone that the book was bad and that it should be banned.
People who read books aren’t the ones that go to PTA meetings and try to get them banned.
Wait, why did they have to raise money if the books were donated by the publisher? Excuse me, I’m having a dumber than usual day.
The students DIYed 300 books for distribution and then the publisher kicked in another 350…
It’s a pretty good book, I just discovered and read it a few months ago. We watched “Smoke Signals” together as a family when my son was 11 or 12 and we all enjoyed it.
My son is 21 now but I’m sure that he’d enjoy reading “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” as well. I would have had no problem with him reading it in middle school.
Sherman Alexie is a good writer and I’d been intending to read his books after I first saw “Smoke Signals.” I hope that his work gets the full benefit of the Streisand Effect.
Chaucer! Rabelais! Balzac!
Man, outside-the-box thinking like that is a sure-fire way to be suspened by the same people who taught them about Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King.
Just a note that TATDIOAPTI is illustrated by the amazing Ellen Forney, and I would have snapped it up for her drawings alone.
How exactly is removing a book from a school’s “supplemental reading list for high-school sophomores” considered a ban?
If the school doesn’t want to choose to recommend the book as part of their curriculum, what’s wrong with that? Ceasing to endorse a book is not the same as banning it. The school isn’t stopping kids from reading it, and they aren’t prohibiting it from being on the grounds - that would be an actual ban. All they’ve done is stop recommending it, which is entirely their prerogative.
Seriously, talk about your abusively worded journalism! Fortunately, of the three cited articles, only the Boise Weekly actually uses the word “ban” - a mealy-mouthed usage in the form of the headline: “Banned from Meridian Curriculum, Controversial Book Lands in More Hands”.
Whomever came up with that weasely little tidbit must feel awfully clever, managing to insinuate an actual book banning, but in actuality literally only meaning that the book has been removed from the curriculum. Looks like it worked, because it appears to have succeeded in confusing and misguiding Mr. Doctorow.
Personally, I have no opinion on the book in question or on its contents. I have no opinion on the school’s rationale for removing it from their curriculum. It’s none of my business, because the book is not actually being censored and the children are still perfectly allowed to read the book at the school - it’s readily available in their library, for crying out loud.
Is there another word that encapsulates “removed from the curriculum at the behest of priggish bluenosed busybodies?”
the book has been removed from the curriculum
Which I read to mean: “The book has been banned from being actively taught as a part of the curriculum.”
There, you happy now?
Thanks buddy, it’s cloudy in the brain today.
I’ve read The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and I thought it was great. Glad to see these kids interested in good contemporary Am Lit and sticking it to the censors as well. Reminds me of me as a lad back a zillion years ago.
How about “removed from the curriculum”?
Sure, it’s four words instead of one, but it also doesn’t falsely evoke a “book banning”, which is a very different sort of thing.
Only if you’re happy with a critic giving a scathing, incendiary review of a book, and then people calling that a “book burning”.
This is a false flag story. It generates outrage by evoking the reprehensible concept of “book banning”, when that isn’t at all what is happening. You could just as easily say that the school has had its curriculum “raped”, or that your “priggish bluenosed busybodies” went and “held a gun to the heads of the school administrators”, with equal accuracy (or rather lack thereof).
Wow, I can’t believe this story made it to Boing Boing! I’m one of the two Washington women (my friend is a college student; I’m out of school) who launched the drive. We knew from the beginning that the book was removed from the curriculum and not fully banned, but we wanted to make sure it was available to whoever wanted to read it. We never thought it would get this big! As Washingtonians we love Sherman Alexie. And I’ve been active in libraries for a big part of my life–I think reading controversial material is incredibly important. Anyway, thanks for talking about this! I’ve been reading Boing Boing for years. Gonna go geek out now.
Good on you, Jen!