Police Called Over Controversial Book Being Handed Out At Free Book Event

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Police were called to an organized free book giveaway because a parent was upset over a controversial award winning book being handed out to attendees.

The questionable book is “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, the story of a Spokane Indian teenager who decides to attend an all-white school off of his reservation. The book’s theme deals with race relations in the United States, and has come under fire since its publication for things ranging from offensive language to sexually explicit scenes, reports The Guardian. Others have complained the book is anti-Christian.

Two weeks ago the book was banned from Idaho school reading lists, reports the Idaho Statesman.

In a Meridian School District public hearing over removing the book, Lonnie Stiles complained that it “subjects children to filthy words ‘we do not speak in our home.’”

Students did not agree. They organized a petition to have the book reinstated and Rediscovered Books set-up a crowdfunding campaign in order to buy copies of the book for each of the 350 students who signed the petition. The campaign was a success, raising $3,400.

During World Book Night, a national book giveaway event, Junior Mountain High School student Brady Kissel handed the book out for free. The Daily Dot reports that all but 20 of the books found an owner.

The success of the event was nearly short-lived when police were called because of a call concerned teenagers were “picking up a copy of the book without having a parent’s permission,” reports KBOI2.

After asking Kissel about passing out the book, police found nothing wrong with his activities or the others involved.

The book’s publisher has given an additional 350 copies of the book to be handed out in the area. Another free book giveaway event is planned for a couple weeks from now.