Parent of a number of students at a Queens, NY middle school are up in arms over a required reading book that their children were assigned, as part of their summer reading list. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” was no longer required reading.
All incoming sixth-graders had been expected to write a graded-essay on the book, which according to Amazon.com’s decription “tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.”
The issue the parents are having with the book is the mention of masturbation.
Lines in the award-winning young adult novel include: “And if God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs. So I thank God for my thumbs.”
Folding under increasing publicity and pressure from the parents that the book is like “Fifty Shades for kids”, the principal of the school had the book taken off the required reading list.
Do you think the book should be required reading or do you agree that school assignment would force parents into awkward conversations about masturbation too early?