April 09, 2012

True Diary on most-challenged list

Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary Makes ALA’s Most-Challenged List AgainSherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has made it onto the American Library Association’s (ALA) list of most-challenged books once again, though it has slipped from number two to number five since last year.

Cited for “offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group,” Diary is the semiautobiographical story of a 14-year-old Native teen who explores questions of community, identity and tribe as he assimilates into a white, off-rez school. It is marked for adolescents in grades seven through 10.

The list is compiled annually based on numbers of complaints from parents, the ALA said in a press release on April 9. During 2011 the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received 326 reports attempting to have various materials removed or restricted from library bookshelves and school curricula, the organization said.

Last year Alexie joked about not making number one on the list; this year he’ll have to content himself with being solidly in the top 10. Besides making last year’s list, Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto’s Fist Fight in Heaven and Ten Little Indians were among the books banned earlier this year by the Tucson Unified School District when Arizona outlawed ethnic studies programs and the school district shut down its Mexican American Studies Department.
Comment:  For more on the book, see School Reverses True Diary Ban and Absolutely True Dairy's Variant Covers.

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