Sherman Alexie's National Book Award Winner Removed From Oregon School

by Staff

The Crook County School District in central Oregon recently removed Sherman Alexie's children's book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, from classrooms after a parent complained to the school board that it was inappropriate for anyone, of any age.

Hank Moss, a resident of Prineville, Oregon, objected to the book after his son was assigned to read it. The Oregonian reported that Moss specifically objected to a reference about masturbation. "I don't think it should be for anybody," he told the Oregonian. "I think it's trash. I don't think a fifty-year-old ought to read it."

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the semiautobiographical story of a boy who leaves the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white school. In a review for the School Library Journal, Chris Shoemaker wrote, "Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries."

After Moss photocopied some pages from the book and brought them to a school board meeting, the board directed the school superintendent to look into how Alexie's 2007 National Book Award winner was being offered to students. Jim Golden, the principal of Crook County High School, said he was disappointed by the district’s decision to remove the book from classrooms.