West Ada yanks ‘Looking for Alaska’ from middle school libraries

In response to a parent’s complaint, the West Ada School District has pulled the novel “Looking for Alaska” from its middle school libraries.

The state’s largest district removed the title after a parent complained about the book’s language and references to smoking and suicide, spokesman Eric Exline told the Idaho Statesman.

The copies of the book have been moved to high school libraries, Exline told the Statesman.

John Green’s bestselling 2005 novel tells the story of a teenager who enrolled in an Alabama boarding school. “Looking for Alaska” has proven to be not only successful, but controversial. The American Library Association listed “Looking for Alaska” as its most challenged book in 2015, with critics pointing to the book’s language and sexual references.

An online petition urges West Ada to reconsider the decision.

“Access to engaging literature is imperative for young people to be able to learn and grow,” the petition reads, in part. “(‘Looking for Alaska’) tells a story of how young lives interconnect and of how people leave indelible marks on one another.”

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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