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Monday, September 28, 2015

Read a Banned Book

This week we honor the freedom to read. We do this by selecting a book that has been banned, and then read that book, not only as an act of rebellion, but to also discover something new about ourselves and the world.

So, in honor of banned books week, I read "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. Not only is this book one of the top banned books in many schools, it was also the winner of the National Book Award.

Amazon says this about the book:
It is the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Wikipedia shares why this book is considered controversial:
The novel has some  content on issues such as alcohol, poverty, bullying, violence, and sexual references, as well as for the tragic deaths of characters and for the use of profanity and slurs related to homosexuality and mental disability.

For me, I found the book a quick read, delightful, witty, thought provoking, and even heart wrenching. It was easy to see why it is an award winner. It was more difficult to see how someone would be so offended as to put in the effort to get it banned.

Here is a link to the most frequently banned young adult books of fiction in 2014-2015. You may be amazed at what others find offensive. You may also be amazed at how some of your favorites may be on that list.