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BANNED/CHALLENGED > Some parents seek to ban 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian'

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message 1: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (BlueManticore) | 37 comments http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/lo...

Some parents seek to ban The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Group calls book vulgar; administrator says character's experience are the same challenges facing incoming freshmen
By Ruth Fuller | Special to the Tribune
June 22, 2009

Some parents of incoming freshmen at Antioch High School want an assigned summer reading book pulled from the school's shelves and the curriculum because it uses foul, racist language and describes sexual acts.

The book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie, is an award-winning story of a 14-year-old American Indian who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. The main character faces many of the same challenges the incoming freshmen will face when they start school in the fall, said John Whitehurst, chairman of the English department at Antioch High School.

Jennifer Anderson said she was one of seven parents who attended the Community High School District 117 School Board meeting Thursday to ask that the book be banned from the curriculum, or at the very least be accompanied with a warning about the content.

"I can't imagine anyone finding this book appropriate for a 13- or 14-year-old," said Anderson, whose 14-year-old son will be a freshman this fall. "I have not met a single parent who is not shocked by this. This is not appropriate for our community."

District 117 Supt. Jay Sabatino said he has not read the book but planned to do so over the weekend and asked two school board members to do the same. On Monday, the group will reconvene to discuss the appropriate action to take, he said.

Anderson said she read the book because she wanted to be able to help her son understand it.

"I began reading, and I started to cross out sections that I didn't want him to read," she said. "Soon I thought, 'Wait, this is not appropriate; he is not reading this.' "

There is an alternative book that students can read, "Down River," if parents do not approve of the selected title, Sabatino said.

Teachers create a list of possible titles, read the books and consult experts and organizations for their recommendations before assigning them, Whitehurst said. The English department did a survey last year and determined many boys at this age do not like to read, he said. Because the protagonist in the story is a boy who is quite engaging, it would appeal particularly to those reluctant readers, Whitehurst said.

"While there is graphic language, keep in mind that Arnold [the main character:] uses this language to express his own feelings to himself or to exchange taunts with his best friend," he said. "He never uses this language in front of girls, to his family or to other adults, and he doesn't act on such thoughts. He is consistently polite."

Whitehurst said the book is filled with positive, life-affirming messages and has an especially strong anti-alcohol message.

Anderson said she understands kids use profanity, but if it is part of the curriculum, the students will believe the school condones it.

"That is like saying that because Romeo and Juliet committed teen suicide, we condone teen suicide," Whitehurst said. "Kids know the difference. Like it or not, that is the way 14-year-old boys talk to each other."

Anderson said she would like to make this a national conversation about placing warning labels on books.

"We rate movies and put warnings on music and TV," she said. "What about books? There is no warning whatsoever if there is vulgar language in a book."

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" has won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and was named one of the Los Angeles Times' Favorite Children's Books of 2007 and New York Times' Notable Children's Books of 2007.




message 2: by Pandora (last edited Jun 22, 2009 08:21AM) (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments Actually I'm not suprised that this one is up for banning. I read it myself when it come into the children's department. We ended up sending it to the YA department. It is an important book and says a lot. It made me think a lot about the Inidans and how little I truly know about them.

That said the book does have a lot of things that would raise eyebrowns especially with consertative parnets. That is why we decieded we couldn't keep it in the children's section. I'm not saying I agree that the book should be banned. Just saying some banning catches you by surprise (The Outsiders, Harry Potter) and other books you just know they are going to banned. (And Tango Makes Three, The Chocolate War) This book it was only a matter of time. I'm suprised the English department didn't see this one coming.

As for finding a book boys would read there are a lot of choices. Walter Dean Myers also writes for boys, The Outiders is a fairly safe choice nowadays, and there is always White Fang or Call of the Wild to fall back on. Being Jack London you can always defend it by being a classic.

As for the labeling idea that is completely nuts and unworkable. As it is now we still have it is hard enough rating movies. A independent horror movie will have a much harder time than say a Spielberg movie which is why we are stuck now with PG-13. Rating books could be a nightmare. Besides hasn't they ever heard of the sugar and ants idea. Slap a R on a book and you will make it a bestseller.


message 3: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (BlueManticore) | 37 comments Update:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/lo...

Controversial book to stay on reading list

Some parents seek to ban 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian'
By Lisa Black, Tribune staff reporter, and Ruth Fuller, special correspondent
4:09 PM CDT, June 22, 2009

Antioch High School has agreed to form a committee that includes parents to review books after an assigned summer reading book drew protests because of its language and description of sexual acts.

Community High School District 117 Supt. Jay Sabatino said this afternoon that after reading the book, he and two school board members decided to keep it on the summer reading list.

"The consensus is we feel it is a valuable read, a good read… . We will continue to offer an alternative if someone wants one," Sabatino said.

Earlier today, school board President Wayne Sobczak said he doubted the book -- "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie -- would be pulled from shelves as some parents wanted.

"I am sensing the book is going to stay because it is age-appropriate," said Sobczak, who said he had also received positive input from parents who read the book.

"I appreciate the parents who came and had concerns," he added. "But the tone and flavor of the book is positive for children this age, and shows someone trying to do the right thing."

He noted that the 400 incoming freshmen already have an alternate book that they may choose to read.

The book is an award-winning story of a 14-year-old American Indian who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. The main character faces many of the same challenges the incoming freshmen will face when they start school in the fall, said John Whitehurst, chairman of the English department at Antioch High School.

Sobczak and two board members who read the book are scheduled to discuss their thoughts at a meeting tonight.

Sobczak said the committee being formed could issue warnings about future book assignments.

"If they believe a book needs a warning for parents, that it contains something that might be objectionable, they will have warning and an alternate book," Sobczak said. "Something like, "We find the content and the theme of it is very appropriate for our children. However you may find some of the language inappropriate."

Jennifer Andersen said she was one of seven parents who attended a District 117 school board meeting Thursday to ask that the book be banned from the curriculum, or at the very least be accompanied with a warning about the content.

"I can't imagine anyone finding this book appropriate for a 13- or 14-year-old," said Andersen, whose 14-year-old son will be a freshman this fall. "I have not met a single parent who is not shocked by this. This is not appropriate for our community."

Andersen said this afternoon she was pleased to learn that a committee would begin reviewing books and warning parents, if necessary.

"I think that's a great idea," said Andersen, who has a teaching degree.

"Ideally, I would love them to say, 'We don't condone this language in the schools and we feel this book … does not meet our standards."

She said that she is not promoting censorship. While the book has a good storyline, she said, she questioned why the author felt it was necessary to include language that "would not be allowed in school hallways."

"It saddens me. I understand they think this is a great book about overcoming difficult situations in a child's life," she said. "How can we look past the vulgarity?"

Andersen said she read the book because she wanted to be able to help her son understand it.

"I began reading, and I started to cross out sections that I didn't want him to read," she said. "Soon I thought, 'Wait, this is not appropriate; he is not reading this.' "

There is an alternative book that students can read, "Down River," if parents do not approve of the selected title, Sabatino said.

Teachers create a list of possible titles, read the books and consult experts and organizations for their recommendations before assigning them, Whitehurst said. The English department did a survey last year and determined many boys at this age do not like to read, he said. Because the protagonist in the story is a boy who is quite engaging, it would appeal particularly to those reluctant readers, Whitehurst said.

"While there is graphic language, keep in mind that Arnold [the main character:] uses this language to express his own feelings to himself or to exchange taunts with his best friend," he said. "He never uses this language in front of girls, to his family or to other adults, and he doesn't act on such thoughts. He is consistently polite."

Whitehurst said the book is filled with positive, life-affirming messages and has an especially strong anti-alcohol message.

Andersen said she understands kids use profanity, but if it is part of the curriculum, the students will believe the school condones it.

"That is like saying that because Romeo and Juliet committed teen suicide, we condone teen suicide," Whitehurst said. "Kids know the difference. Like it or not, that is the way 14-year-old boys talk to each other."

Andersen said she would like to make this a national conversation about placing warning labels on books.

"We rate movies and put warnings on music and TV," she said. "What about books? There is no warning whatsoever if there is vulgar language in a book."

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" has won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and was named one of the Los Angeles Times' Favorite Children's Books of 2007 and New York Times' Notable Children's Books of 2007.





message 4: by Pandora (last edited Jun 22, 2009 05:21PM) (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments You basically reposted what you had posted in your first post. I'm glad that the book is staying on the list. To me even more important then the message was the fact the book give insight on a culturally group that people don't think about a lot - at least on the East Coast. It has been awhile since I read and i'm not up on the details. Still I do remember that the book did have material that an overly consertative parnet wouldn't like. That being said were you suprised that parents objected to it?

What really saddens me is that some parnets will rant and rave over sex and then have no problems with their kids watching a super violent movie.


message 5: by Julia (last edited Aug 31, 2009 01:14PM) (new)

Julia | 60 comments See, I would *teach* _The Absolutely True Diary of a Part- Time Indian_ in a second, but not put it on a summer reading list. Same with Alexie's also amazing YA book _Flight_. IMO, these are better, richer, with teacher- guidance and student discussion, or flip that. But how much do you suppose that other book is/ was being read with parents objecting to this one?!

A long time ago Pandora Kat you recommened Walter Dean Myers' books instead. His books are often on banned/ challenged lists...


message 6: by Pandora (new)

Pandora  | 68 comments I suppose you can never find the totally safe book. Though I was thinking of his less explosive books like Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid and Won't Know Till I Get There. I work in the Children's department so I don't know a lot of his YA material.

I agreed that the book would be a great one to use in a class. It has been awhile since I read this book. I'm going to reread it for the book disscussion.

What I was trying to say is that I don't agree with the objections I could see one coming with this book at least for the age group I deal with which is under twelve.


message 7: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha | 2 comments Do they seriously think their kids aren't already exposed to cussing? You're either a very delusional parent or you have an extremely sheltered kid if you believe so. They're in HIGH SCHOOL, not kindergarten.


message 8: by Shay (new)

Shay | 66 comments I've taught middle school and we've had pregnant girls in 6th-8th grade. I think parents should be more concerned with what their kids are doing than what they are reading. This is why we have so much drug use and pregnancy, people expect others (school, government, etc.) to parent their children. Grow up, be responsible or don't have kids. (I have three kids so I'm not one of those people with imaginary perfect children who do everything right.)


message 9: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (Maybedog) | 621 comments Mod
Shay, I agree. When I was in middle school, 30 years ago (ack!) there was a 7th grader who got pregnant and ended up changing schools. It was weird but by no means completely unfathomable. Today kids are becoming sexualized younger and younger. We need sex education in 6th grade, not high school. Books that explain the consequences of such actions are helpful not harmful.


message 10: by Gundula (last edited Oct 01, 2010 01:43PM) (new)

Gundula | 380 comments Pandora Kat wrote: "You basically reposted what you had posted in your first post. I'm glad that the book is staying on the list. To me even more important then the message was the fact the book give insight on a cu..."

Yeah, sex is worse than violence, how stupid is that. I don't know, but there is a real double standard here. Also, we seem to think that sexuality and coarse language in books should be banned, but many American adults seem to allow their children, especially girls, to wear fashion that is definitely sexually provocative (and that is an understatement). Also, I get a real kick out of certain right wing groups that call their criticism and condemnation of books they consider inappropriate "freedom of expression." Yes, it is their freedom of expression, their freedom to not like a book, to condemn a book etc., but then, some of these individuals, once having exercised their so-called constitutional rights, will stomp on everyone else's constitutional rights by attempting to get books officially banned, which is not only undemocratic, but hypocritical to the extreme.


message 11: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (Tender_Creedish) Huh? What "sexual acts"????? I didn't think the book was all the great either (as you can see in my review of it) but not because of the content... it was too simple a portrayal of life on the reservation as a minority. Also... people curse when they get angry, that's universal! Banning this book reeks of racism. People don't want their kids to see/read how shitty Native American's live as a direct result of how they have been oppressed. Rather pretend it doesn't exist.

And. Has anyone read Down River by Will Hobbs? There are things in that book that scream teenage angst and though it's been years since I've read it, I'm sure there is cussing in it too. Not to mention "intent to kill".... making it an EXCELENT book. :P


message 12: by Gundula (last edited Oct 01, 2010 12:51PM) (new)

Gundula | 380 comments Heidi wrote: "Huh? What "sexual acts"????? I didn't think the book was all the great either (as you can see in my review of it) but not because of the content... it was too simple a portrayal of life on the rese..."

That is so true. People so often try to ban books that show the horrible life of Native Americans, or what life was and is like for African Americans during and post slavery, and they use the objection that the book(s) in question use "racist" words as an excuse (they are basically pretending to be offended by the books because of racism, when in fact they have racist agendas to get the books banned in the first place); it's sickening and very sneaky, and in my opinion, even harder to combat than overt racism, as this is racism under the guise of "acceptance" of political correctness.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I hate people.


message 14: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 380 comments Jesse_william wrote: "I hate people."

Yeah, sometimes the human race, really, really gets on one's nerves.


message 15: by Spencer (new)

Spencer Carmen | 1 comments As a sixteen year old high-school student, I truly believe that "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian", by Sherman Alexie, should have no right to be banned from the shelves of public libraries or schools. One major topic of why this book got banned is because of the fact that the main character, Arnold Spirit, talks about masturbation. However, every high school student has sexual thought each and every day. When reading some of the sexual references Arnold makes, it does not influence adolescents to have these thoughts, since they are already exposed to them. In addition, many critics do not agree with Alexie's vulgar language that he continuously uses throughout his book. Let me ask you guys a question, "Have you ever heard teenagers talk in a cafeteria, or locker-room, or in a school hallway?" When reading Alexie's explicit text, most adolescents are prone to hearing many of these inappropriate terms and does not affect them while reading the novel.
Lastly, another topic that experiences a lot of controversy is the racist stereotypes. Sherman Alexie raises the issue discrimination against Native Americans, in order to provoke general dialogue about this prejudice. Discrimination cannot be combated, unless it is discussed openly and honestly. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" is stimulates this kind overt discussion and is encouraged throughout the book. I highly recommend reading, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" for all ages and allow others to share their opinions on Sherman Alexie's extraordinary book!


message 16: by Walesr14 (new)

Walesr14 | 1 comments I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book. At first glance, I thought the book looked a little too childish and cheesy for my taste, but once I started reading I found that was definitely not the case. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has much more to offer.

Anyone who wants to ban this book probably either has not read it, or doesn't have a good sense for what their child is already exposed to in every day life. Even though the book does have some vulgar language and crude detail, these are things that almost every high school aged student is already exposed to every day. A parent would have to be blind not to see that. The classroom is a good place to discuss these things. With a responsible teacher leading the discussion, kids can learn how to handle situations with bad language or sexual topics if they do not feel comfortable confronting them on their own. Having said this, I don't think it is appropriate for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to be assigned as summer reading in case a child in uncomfortable with the book's contents.

After reading the book I realized that I was also totally wrong about the book looking too easy to read and cheesy. Aexie's writing was very funny and he used many literary devices such as symbolism to get his readers to look deeper into his writing. One of my favorite symbols in the book was how Junior's trip between the reservation and Reardan showed the two different sides of who he was. This is only one of many complex symbols and themes throughout the novel.

This book dos not deserved to removed from the curriculum because of it's sexual content, lack of complexity, or harsh language!


message 17: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (AmandaMLyons) | 14 comments Anything by Alexie is well worth the read!


message 18: by Adam (last edited Jul 06, 2012 09:36PM) (new)

Adam (trustyweasel) | 2 comments Reading the article, I keep picturing Anderson from the article as the Sparkle Motion mom in Donny Darko. I'm sure her son and his friends probably use way worse language than the book does.


message 19: by Anonymous (new)

Anonymous | 1 comments As a 15 year old student who has read the book, I do not believe that Part-Time Indian should be banned from schools. Although some of the content is mature and controversial, there is no reason to shelter students from things that happen in the 'real world'. All of the problems mentioned in the book, like bullying, alcoholism,and racism, are things that occur in and out of classrooms. If kids are sheltered from these topics they could come out of the school systems being uninformed about what is out in the world. Speaking about these topics in a classroom setting, although controversial, is important to educate kids about all of these things to make sure that they are open-minded and understanding people.


message 20: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (Maybedog) | 621 comments Mod
I agree wholeheartedly.


message 21: by Hilah (new)

Hilah Mae | 12 comments Tabitha wrote: "Do they seriously think their kids aren't already exposed to cussing? You're either a very delusional parent or you have an extremely sheltered kid if you believe so. They're in HIGH SCHOOL, not ..."

That is for sure what I was thinking too. There is no way that THEIR kids aren't cussing at this age. And probably using much worse language then is in the book.


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa James (sthwnd) I have a son who's a high school freshman. His youngest brother is a 7th grader, his older siblings are his 19 1/2 year old sister, his 22 year old brother, who has been living with his girlfriend's family for about 3 years now, & his getting ready to turn 25 year old sister, who's daughter will be 2 this month as well, & no, she's not married either. Oh yes, they hear language like that in the books all DAY. It's in school, it's on TV, it's on the radio. Sex is everywhere, & since it's a natural & normal part of life, all we can do is educate them to at least be SAFE about it. It's the racism, bullying, & other destructive behaviors we should be concerned about, & the fact that the Native Americans & the African Americans were treated SO badly is part of our culture as well. I live in the South, in Florida, & we have both Indian history as well as slave history here.


message 23: by Regina (new)

Regina (Regferk) | 17 comments I LOVED this book and made my two teenaged sons listen to the audio version. And they both loved it.


message 24: by Hilah (new)

Hilah Mae | 12 comments I think Lisa makes a good point. We focus so much as a society on stopping kids/teenagers from doing things that are natural instead of making sure they do it safely. I think banning books in general, but this book specifically are reminders that we have our priorities very messed up as a society.


message 25: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (FrejaFolkvangar) | 34 comments I actually wrote an article about this for my banned books blog. You can find my thoughts at:

https://boundandgaggedbooks.wordpress...

Otherwise check out Sherman Alexie's speech "The Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood." It shreds all the stupid arguments about protecting those innocent, virgin ears PTAs are always so concerned with. Books that discuss real issues help far more than they hurt. Any 13-14 year old should not be in any way shocked by the language or adult content in this book.


message 26: by Julia (last edited Jan 11, 2013 09:00AM) (new)

Julia | 60 comments I love The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and of course I don't think it should be banned. I also love Flight, Flight by Sherman Alexie,also a YA novel by Sherman Alexiewhich many fewer readers have heard of.

While looking up Alexie's other work there's last fall's Blasphemy  New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie.


message 27: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (FrejaFolkvangar) | 34 comments What frustrates me most is how much hate Alexie gets from both sides, if he's not getting banned by racist white-washers in AZ, he's getting banned for being racist and his book gets compared to The Education of Little Tree. Poor guy. He just can't win.


message 28: by Sara (new)

Sara (sdingel) | 6 comments Reading about a parent wanting to ban a book makes me so frustrated, as she has a right to choose what her kids read. So do I, I can choose for my child, and I certainly don't need a parent.
A good point was made do we tell kids suicide is a good idea when we teach them about Romeo and Juliet? What about The little mermaid, it's okay disobey your parents and leave them forever with a boy you barely know? Ridiculous.
I know this article and thread is old but topic will always be relevant.


message 29: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (Maybedog) | 621 comments Mod
I agree, Sara.


message 30: by Anonymous (last edited Apr 18, 2013 09:30AM) (new)

Anonymous | 1 comments Though the language in this book may be vulgar at times, especially with controversial topics such as masturbation, hormones, bulimia, alcoholism, and abuse, the pros of Part-Time Indian outweigh the cons. The story is an accurate portrayal of an adolescent boys journey through high school and finding his identity. Junior speaks of how alcohol and abuse can ruins one’s life, and therefore discourages readers from it. When inappropriate topics such as masturbation are brought up, it is usually just Junior thinking to himself. The book sends strong messages such as perseverance, self- acceptance, and tolerance, when Junior is faced with adversity. The profanity is insignificant when compared to the book’s powerful and honest messages, and thus should not be banned from schools.


message 31: by Anonymus (new)

Anonymus | 1 comments I agree that it definitely holds true that this novel contains quite raunchy content and vulgar language at times. But I think it is imperative that we as readers look past some of Juniors "inner-thoughts" and recognize Alexie's wonderful knack for engagement and portrayal of the life of an under privileged 14 year old non-caucasion male. Although not every experience is identical, this book is a wonderful outline for some of the commonalities young boys face growing up in adverse cultures with split identities. Junior faces countless hardships throughout his life, and I feel it is extremely important for teens to be aware that life is not always as wonderful as their bubble may behold. Moreover this book sends wonderful messages such as: tolerance, confidence, hope, and has a huge anti-alcohol message spread and reiterated constantly throughout. All in all I think it is a great book and do not think it should be banned from any school systems around the world.


message 32: by Remi (new)

Remi | 1 comments I couldn't agree more with what Spencer said with the exception of the last sentence. It is true that "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" is a well written book that provides new perspectives on race and other issues, as well as relatable challenges faced by Junior. It displays examples of discrimination, sexual activity, and alcoholism, but that is what makes it unique. The truth about stereotypes and harsh realities of discrimination and poverty is displayed through Sherman Alexie's writing. However, when Spencer says that "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" should be read by all ages, I disagree. The book should be allowed because of the educational purposes and awareness, but it should only be given to kids mature enough to understand and respect the language. Otherwise, the purpose could be misinterpreted and the full potential would be deterred. I think kids are not exposed enough to the language before middle school. During and after middle school it should absolutely be read but not prior to that.


message 33: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 380 comments Remi wrote: "I couldn't agree more with what Spencer said with the exception of the last sentence. It is true that "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" is a well written book that provides new per..."

I would definitely agree with that.


message 34: by Rory (new)

Rory Martin | 1 comments In regard to Spencer’s writing I wholeheartedly agree with all aspects of it, except the last sentence. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie has many references to vulgar or crass themes. The use of alcohol, and the racism are two very important themes in the book in relation to Junior’s home life, and the way he is generally treated. His family and reservation have a history of alcohol abuse and frequent usage. His reservation is discriminated against routinely by well-off locals, and even his race as a whole talked down-upon. These ideas that are reoccurring throughout the book, would not be suitable for young adults to be so heavily exposed to. Sexual activity is also prominent, largely including the way Junior thinks about his female friend Penelope. This is just a common immature theme that many teenage boys talk about and can relate to in real life. However, middle schoolers would not quite feel the same way about it. There is a certain age at which kids start understanding the powerful effect these mature themes, and even curse language have on the way a book is trying to get it’s point across. The age at which this mindset is achieved is certainly not during middle school, or any grade level before that. Lastly, that being said "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie is most definitely a must-read for any highschooler.


message 35: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (FrejaFolkvangar) | 34 comments Why are themes of racism, discrimination, "crass" language, and poverty inappropriate for middle schoolers? Plenty of middle schoolers deal with those exact issues. Those that don't would benefit from knowing that many of their peers do.


message 36: by Gundula (last edited Jan 11, 2014 05:22AM) (new)

Gundula | 380 comments Shannon wrote: "Why are themes of racism, discrimination, "crass" language, and poverty inappropriate for middle schoolers? Plenty of middle schoolers deal with those exact issues. Those that don't would benefit f..."

There are two types of parents who, in my opinion, want to ban books that contain racism, inappropriate language, poverty etc. One type are the parents who strive to keep their children "innocent" (or more to the point, ignorant) or do not want to have to explain problematic themes to them (and perhaps actually believe that if one does not read about and talk about problematic issues, they won't exist or will somehow go away). The other type of parents are those who are racist, use inappropriate language, are abusive and/or neglectful and simply do not want their children to realise (through education and reading) how disfunctional their parents, families, traditions etc. are (because education empowers).


message 37: by Kelly H. (Maybedog), Big Kahuna, Ministry of Illicit Reading (new)

Kelly H. (Maybedog) (Maybedog) | 621 comments Mod
Shannon wrote: "Why are themes of racism, discrimination, "crass" language, and poverty inappropriate for middle schoolers? Plenty of middle schoolers deal with those exact issues. Those that don't would benefit f..."

I agree. Many of our class readings lists at that age (and this was 30 years ago) had books with these themes. Huckleberry Finn has all four.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (other topics)
Flight (other topics)
Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Sherman Alexie (other topics)