According to the New York Daily News, middle schoolers at Public School 114 in Rockaway, Queens, won’t be reading Sherman Alexie’s prized illustrated novel. The school seems to have caved in to pressure from at least one angry parent and phone calls from the tabloid about the book.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” which is roughly based on Alexie’s own experiences as a youth, tells the moving story of a Native kid from the rez who winds up at an all white school with an offensive mascot. It’s the winner of several prizes, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The novel features racial and sexual themes. And it was the book’s references to masturbation that irked one parent enough to protest the novel in its entirety.
It’s not the first time the book’s been censored. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” has been taken off of readings lists in Oregon, Washington, Missouri. It was banned by Washington’s Richland School District—until board members actually read the book and reversed their decision.