A middle school in Queens has removed a sexually provocative book from its sixth grade required reading following complaints by incoming students’ parents, the Daily News reports.
Parents of rising sixth graders at PS 114 in Rockaway Park had planned a boycott after the school assigned an essay on “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a coming of age story by Sherman Alexie about a 14-year-old who moves to an affluent all white suburb after growing up on an Indian reservation. The book won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is controversial for its portrayal of masturbation, and includes passages such as, “If there were a Professional Masturbators League, I’d get drafted number one and make millions of dollars.”
One PS 114 parent told the Daily News, “It’s about . . . masturbation — which is not appropriate for my child to learn at 11 … It was like ’50 Shades of Grey’ for kids.”
According to the Daily News, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” was banned from a school district in Oregon in 2008, as well as one in Mississippi in 2010 and Washington in 2011.
After the 2008 ban in Oregon, Alexie defending the book, telling an Oregon newspaper, “Everything in the book is what every kid in that school is dealing with on a daily basis, whether it’s masturbation or racism or sexism or the complications of being human … To pretend that kids aren’t dealing with this on an hour-by-hour basis is a form of denial.”
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