West Ada places Alexie novel on reading list

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is not absolutely required reading in West Ada schools.

But the book is on the district’s supplemental reading list, after a unanimous School Board vote Tuesday.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe controversial Sherman Alexie novel has divided patrons in the state’s largest school district. Supporters say the book offers an honest portrayal of adolescence and cultural issues; critics say the book is rife with sexual references and sends an anti-Christian message. During an emotional public hearing in April, a divided school board left the book in limbo. Trustees didn’t return the book to the reading list, but they didn’t remove it from the list either.

The board vote prompted a fundraising drive to give away hundreds of copies of the book to students.

On Tuesday, trustees returned the book to the 10th-grade supplemental reading list, with some restrictions. Parents must consent to reading the book, the book will be read in small student groups and teachers will not read the text aloud in front of the entire class.

The decision allows those on both sides of the issue, pro and con, to choose how to approach the book, board chairman Mike Vuittonet said Tuesday.

For more from the meeting, here are links to the Idaho Statesman and Meridian Press. And here’s video from our broadcast partners, KIVI and KNIN.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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