Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book; it backfires predictably
Parents in Idaho called the cops last week
on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help
distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school
The book in question was Sherman Alexie’s young adult
novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” Published in
2007, it won the National Book Award and has become popular with young
teens, supposedly for its universal themes of fitting in, making sense
of race, and sexual discovery.
The sex part (and let’s face
it—probably the race part) led parents to lobby Junior Mountain High
School to remove it from the syllabus, citing its sexual content (it
discusses masturbation) and supposedly anti-Christian content.
teens then started a petition to have the book reinstated. They
collected 350 signatures, which is an impressive number of kids to rally
around a cause like reading.
In response, a local bookstore
Rediscovered Books started a crowdfunding campaign to buy a book for
each of the 350 kids who signed the petition. It worked—the campaign
raised $3,400, enough for a book per kid.
worked with a student involved in the petition, Brady Kissel, to
distribute the books on World Book Night, an initiative to turn
reluctant young readers onto reading with free, super-readable books.
distributed all but 20 books to kids who came in to claim them, but not
before parents called the cops to shut down the operation. Police told
local news channel KBOI they had been called by “someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent’s permission.”
Even police seemed to have no idea what they were doing there, and let the book giveaway proceed as planned.
only did it go as planned, but when Alexie’s publisher Hachette got
word of the incident, they sent Rediscovered an additional 350 copies on
the house. So while the book may still be banned in the
school curriculum, it’s available free of cost for any kid who wants to
stop into Rediscovered and pick one up.