January 26, 2022

Alaska: “Concerned Parents Debate Books Removed from Nome Schools’ Alternative Reading List”

From KNOM Radio:

Nome parents packed the audience at Tuesday night’s school board meeting, debating a recent board decision to remove a handful of highly-regarded but controversial works of literature from Nome Schools’ alternative reading list.

The alternative reading list suggests texts for Nome English classes for situations in which the school’s primary reading list is deemed unsuitable; the decision up for discussion on Tuesday concerned this alternative list, not the primary one.

Nome Schools’ alternative reading list was finished in January and put up for finalization from the school board. On Friday, February 17, however, Nome parent Angela Hansen wrote a letter to the school board, supported by other parents, expressing concern for what they consider graphically sexual content in five books: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.


After the 40-minute public comment period ended, Superintendent Shawn Arnold kept with the board decision made before the meeting to remove The Kite Runner, Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple, andThe Bluest Eye from the alternative reading list. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will be kept on the list. Arnold says that the board can reverse this decision at any time.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.