Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Oh, for...

In Idaho, Concerned Parents called the cops because a teenager was giving away copies of Sherman Alexie's acclaimed Young Adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Yep. You read that right. They called the fricking cops. On 911.

Not that the cops actually did anything once they showed up. After all, the book isn't illegal to own. But still. Sheesh. Panic over The Other much? 911 for a book giveaway?

Head. Exploding.

(True story. People tried to ban the novelization of West Side Story back a million years ago when I was in high school. I remember the school board meeting - a lot of us went. The book was not banned.)

That book, of course, is one of the most banned books in America, and it's been banned in the Meridian, Idaho, school district, too.
But the district's local teens fought back, organizing a petition to have the book reinstated. In response, the local Boise bookseller Rediscovered Books crowdfunded a $3,400 campaign to buy copies of the book for each of the 350 students who signed the petition.

Junior Mountain High School student Brady Kissel went to Kleiner Park in Meridian to distribute the books Wednesday evening. Kissel had arranged the giveaway with Rediscovered Books as part of a national book giveaway event called World Book Night.

The goal of World Book Night is to put a free, ultra-readable book into the hands of a reluctant reader. Kissel and her fellow teens had no problem finding takers for Alexie's controversial book. They gave away all but 20 copies.

And then, of course, an irate parent ruined it by literally calling the cops to the scene. Boise news station KBOI reported that even the cops were baffled about why they'd been asked to police a book giveaway.

KBOI reported that police had been summoned by "someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent's permission."
I mean, for crying out loud. I hope that parent's kid is reading the hell out of The Absolutely True Diary.... I hope that kid - and all of them - learn the joy of reading that the book celebrates. And I hope the parent(s) discover that they cannot lock down their kid's mind.

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