Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was recently challenged in Wisconsin, and now it’s under attack in neighboring Minnesota.
A pair of parents of New London-Spicer Schools 8th graders have challenged the acclaimed novel, citing “gratuitous and unnecessary” profanity and reference to sexual acts as reasons for offense. Despite being offered an alternate assignment for their children per school policy, the complainants argue that their children are being punished and that the book should instead be removed from the curriculum.
The parents brought their complaint during a recent school board meeting, but the board did not address the issue during the meeting per school policy, which requires a completed challenge form to initiate review proceedings. If the form is submitted, the challenge will be reviewed by the school’s advisory committee, which is made up of parents, teachers, and school administrators. The committee makes a recommendation regarding the challenged material to the school board, which in turn ultimately makes the decision on the fate of the book.
CBLDF has joined several defenses of Alexie’s award-winning novel over the years. It has appeared on ALA’s annual list of the most challenged books on several occasions since its 2007 publication despite accolades from The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. It won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and several other awards, and it has been included in school curricula around the country since publication.
CBLDF will continue to follow the challenges in both Wisconsin and Minnesota and post updates as they become available.