'True Diary' Regains Place on West Ada Supplemental Reading List After Challenge, Still Censored


Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is back on the West Ada School District's supplemental reading list—albeit with a few caveats—after a school board meeting Sept. 9, KTVB reports.

True Diary was removed from the supplemental reading list in April, when the grandparent of a student objected to the young adult novel's depictions of sexuality and explicit language. The school district's trustees removed the book from the reading list and called for a committee to review each title on the reading list.

Two Washington women raised funds to send hundreds of copies of the book to Idaho, which were distributed to students. The school district's move also attracted the attention of the National Coalition Against Censorship, which sent a letter to trustees to "take seriously the constitutional obligation not to exclude books 'simply because they dislike the ideas contained in the books.'"

"There's always recourse," NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin told Boise Weekly Sept. 9. "We are not a litigation organization, but there is the possibility that somebody could file a First Amendment complaint."

Students will now be able to read True Diary for school, though under certain conditions: Students must have a permission letter signed by parents to access the book, and it will not be read aloud in class, though students will be allowed to read the book in groups.

"What the committee was trying to do was to make those who wanted to have access to the book have access to it and those who didn't want their kids reading the material to also have that choice," said West Ada County School District spokesman Eric Exline.