Earlier this month, parents convinced Idaho's Meridian school district to ban Sherman Alexie's National Book Award-winning Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian over the objections of 350 students who signed a petition to keep it.
According to the local paper, the Statesman, adults argued at a meeting that the book contains offensive words "we do not speak in our home," while others objected to a "reference to masturbation," and called the book "anti-Christian."
Absolutely True Diary is the story of a teenage boy's experiences transferring from the Spokane Reservation to an all-white high school. It's been widely praised as a frank and honest account of teenage life, dealing with issues like bullying, racism, poverty, and, yes, masturbation. Quelle horreur!
In response to the banning, supporters of the book started a fundraiser to buy a copy of Alexie's novel for each of the 350 teens who wanted to read it. Teaming with local bookshop Rediscovered Bookshop, they handed out 315 copies last week as part of a World Book Night event.
But the giveaway didn't go off without interference. Police arrived after getting a call from "someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent's permission," local news station KBOI reported.
Police talked to student organizer Brady Kissel and found there was nothing wrong with distributing the book.
Now Alexie's publisher, Hachette, has gotten word of the incident and sent an additional 350 copies to Rediscovered, free to any student who wants one.