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Saga Of Alexie Book Ban: 700 Novels, A Park, And Call To Police

OPB | April 30, 2014 11 a.m. | Portland

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The next chapter of a controversial book ban in Idaho includes 700 copies of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, a group of students, a local bookstore and a call to the police.

Following the removal of the novel from a Meridian School District’s curriculum, two Washington women raised $3,000 through GoFundMe.com to purchase 350 copies of The Absolutely True Diary, by author Sherman Alexie — one for each person who had signed the petition to keep the book on the curriculum.

They turned the books over to Idaho high school students, who then organized a giveaway of the books in a public park in Boise with the help of local bookstore Rediscovered Books employees on World Book Night last week.

KBOI reports that police then received a call from someone who was concerned that the teenagers picking up the book at the park giveaway might be doing so without parental permission. Ultimately, police found nothing wrong with the students’ actions. They handed out 315 books, and the rest were taken back to the bookstore.

Following World Book Night, Alexie’s publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers donated another 350 copies to Rediscovered Books and Mountain View High school student Brady Kissel said they planned to have another giveaway this week.

“I am honored by the hundreds of Meridian students who showed incredible passion and courage for books,” Alexie wrote to his publisher. “Mine, yes, but literature in general.”

The Idaho Statesman reports the latest wrinkle in the story is that Alexie is coming to Boise in March 2015 as part of a local reading and conversations series.

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