Banned and Challenged Books: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I’m continuing my banned and challenged book series with a new to me book. This book was one of the top ten most challenged books in 2021. You would think with everything going on last year that people would have better things to do. But I guess all that time alone in quarantine gave them a case of Karenitis.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I had no idea what this book was about. After looking it up, I totally want to read this. Junior, a promising cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, is the focus of this narrative. Junior leaves his problematic school on the reservation to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot, determined to take control of his own destiny. How great does that sound? Apparently, not so great to a lot of schools since 2009. Let’s see why.

2009
After a parent reported that it was inappropriate, the student was suspended from his Crook County High School classroom in Prineville (OR). While the school system revises its regulations, the book will be kept out of the classroom for the time being.

2010
Despite opposition from numerous parents who believed the book’s language to be filthy and racist, it was kept on the Antioch (Illinois) High School summer reading list. The district, however, will form a committee each March to review future summer reading assignments in response to the public’s concerns. When a book has potentially problematic content, the committee, which will include parents, will determine whether or not parents should be informed.

2011
The film has been banned from the Stockton (MO) School District due to its violent material, language, and some sexual content. Despite a parent’s objections that the book contains “obscene, filthy, and sexual language,” the book was retained in the Helena (MT) School District’s library.

2012
Despite protests to the “coarse themes and language in the young-adult novel,” the book was first removed off the Richland (WA) school district’s 2011 reading list, but was subsequently reinstated. Pulled from the Dade County (GA) library shelves and the mandatory high school reading list because of concerns about “vulgarity, racism, and anti-Christian content.” As part of an eighth-grade English project at Mattapoisett’s Old Rochester Regional Junior High School, I was challenged to write a novel. “Some very sensitive material in the book,” according to the school, “including excerpts on masturbation amongst other explicit sexual references, encouraging pornography, racism, religious irreverence, and strong language (including the f- and n-words.” The book was challenged as required reading in at least three freshman English classes at Westfield (NJ) High School.

2013
“Some very sensitive material in the book,” according to the school, “including excerpts on masturbation amongst other explicit sexual references, encouraging pornography, racism, religious irreverence, and strong language (including the f- and n-words.” The book was challenged as required reading in at least three freshman English classes at Westfield (NJ) High School. The book was challenged at the West Valley School District in Yakima (WA) because several parents felt that the novel’s sexual themes and profanity were unsuitable for high school students in the district.

2014
A middle school in Queens, New York, was forced to remove the book off its mandatory reading list because it included passages about masturbation. Written by a Native American who reinforces all the negative stereotypes of his people, and he does it from the crude, obscene and unfiltered viewpoint of a 9th grader growing up on a reservation, this book was challenged for inclusion on the 10th grade required reading list at Skyview High School in Billings (MT). The book was removed from the Jefferson County (WV) schools when a parent expressed concern about the novel’s graphic content. There were issues concerning the content of a Sweet Home (OR) Junior High English class, notably what some parents saw to be the objectification of women and young girls, as well as how alternate courses were prepared and presented. Before the unit began, parents of 8th-graders in the language arts courses were provided with material describing the novel’s most contentious subjects, with the option of requesting an alternate assignment if they so desired (see below).

2015
After several parents protested that the book “discusses masturbation, includes profanity, and has been perceived as anti-Christian,” the work was removed off the Meridian (ID) high school supplementary reading list. Board members voted against a committee’s proposal that the book be kept on the 10th grade English supplementary reading list, with parental consent necessary. The book was challenged at Cedar Grove Middle School in Wilmington, North Carolina, because “it includes multiple portrayals of sexual conduct, as well as instances of racism, vulgar language, bullying, and violence,” according to the school’s website. The superintendent of the Highland Park Independent School District in Texas has removed the book off the district’s authorized literature list. The decision generated widespread condemnation and garnered widespread media coverage. The superintendent then ordered the book to be reinstalled. In February 2015, the school board adopted policy modifications regarding how the district picks books and deals with parent concerns to such selections.

2016
“Appeals to a book that the school board has already decided on will not be entertained for two years,” the book was challenged, but it was ultimately kept in the Brunswick County (NC) schools. An anonymous grandma expressed concern that the book “depicts bestiality and is obscene.” She was not discouraged by the choice to keep her job, and she said that she fulfilled her goal with the most recent hurdle — informing parents about the book.

2018
Because of the board president’s concerns about the book’s sexuality and profanity, the Conejo Valley Unified School District Board delayed approval of the book’s inclusion in the curriculum until August 2017. The book was challenged by numerous parents in the New London-Spicer (MN) School District, who requested that it be removed from the mandatory reading list for 8th grade English students because of “gratuitous and needless” profanity and references to sexual activities in the text. The book was retained by the school board by a 3-2 vote. The book was challenged, but it was ultimately kept at Democracy (NV) Prep, where 7th-graders are obliged to read it. Parents expressed their dissatisfaction with the book’s profanity and sexual overtones, and they petitioned authorities to have the book removed from the curriculum. The executive director of Democracy Prep remained steadfast in his support for the book. Parents expressed worry about the book being taught in 9th-grade courses in Sauk Prairie (WI) schools, and the book was retained. They were heard by a review committee, which looked into their concerns about the profanity, violence, and sexual allusions. The book was approved for retention both the review committee and the superintendent in writing. The parents took their complaint to the school board, which unanimously voted to keep the book on the school’s reading list as part of the curriculum. Following a meeting of the review committee, the 10th-grade curriculum at Alton (Illinois) High School was reinstated. The book had been temporarily removed from the curriculum at the beginning of October after a single parent expressed concern about its content. To ensure that the book was reinstated and that parents who were worried about it had an alternative, the instructor collaborated with the parent and administration.

2019
It was challenged by parents who were opposed to the novel being mandatory reading for ninth-graders in the Midland (MI) Public Schools. The novel was retained, but only for use in extracurricular book clubs, and it was confined to that purpose alone. Alcohol, bullying, violence, sexual allusions, vulgarity, and racial insults were among the topics on which the students expressed concern. The book did, in fact, go through a review procedure, and it was purportedly reviewed by every member of the school board. An English teacher at Waverly (KS) High School was suspended only days before Banned Book Week for contemplating teaching this YA book.

2020
Upon hearing that this young adult novel was being used in an eighth-grade language arts class at the North Albany Middle School (in Albany, Oregon), one parent of another student in a different class (who was not in the class reading the book) expressed concern about the language and references to masturbation. The Title Reconsideration Committee decided unanimously to keep the title.

2021
The author has been banned and challenged because of profanity, sexual allusions, and claims of sexual misconduct in his writings.

As you can see, this book has a lot of people clutching their pearls. Which, if you’re like me, just means that I need to go out, buy this book, and read it. Have you read it? Let me know what you thought of it.

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.

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