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Last year parents in Meridian, Idaho moved to ban a popular novel from local schools for its allegedly sexually explicit and anti-Christian content. The book is Sherman Alexie's young adult tale, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
Brady Kissel, a local high school student, fought back against the ban, circulating a petition that earned 350 signatures and the ire of the offended parents. This week Kissel was out in the park distributing copies of the books when those angry parents called the cops, reports the Free Thought Project.
When a local bookstore heard of Kissel's fight against the book ban, they began raising money to buy every signatory on the petition a copy of the novel they could not read in school. The book's publisher heard about their successful fund drive and has since donated as many books.
In other words, in an effort to ban the novel from Meridien's schools and curriculum, parents created a situation in which 700 copies of the book were distributed for free at the park. Police were called to the scene of the alleged crime but there is nothing wrong with distributing novels in the park to willing recipients, as Kissel was doing.
The high school student was not arrested for her literary activism and was, in fact, allowed to continue distribution over angry parent protests. There were no reports on whether Kissel has started a book club for the hundreds of young readers who now own a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, but it would likely be popular if she did.
Nothing is more likely to make a book seem rebellious, sexy, and full of wisdom than a ban. If the parents of Meridien, Idaho had wanted to ensure this book had a big impact on their kids, they could have thought of no better means to interest them in a work than this.
The story told in the banned book is of a Native American teen who leaves his reservation to study at an American school. Parents in Meridien reportedly opposed the discussion of masturbation in the book and the scenes where characters question God.
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