RAPID CITY, SD (AP) — Best-selling author Dave Eggers is offering high school students in South Dakota’s second-largest city free copies of his book “The Circle” and copies of four books by other authors who have been removed from schools in the district.
Rapid City school administrators deemed the books inappropriate for high school students and marked the district copies as surplus to be destroyed.
“The massive destruction of books by school boards is an unconscionable horror, and young freethinkers in South Dakota should not be victims,” Eggers said. “Every high school student should have unlimited access to literature, so if you’re a high school student in Rapid City, email our office and request one of these titles. For every copy destroyed by the school board, let’s add a new one to local circulation.
Valerie Brablec Seales, director of teaching, learning and innovation for Rapid City Area Schools, told the Board of Education that teachers have requested the books and are considering using them in a new grade 12 English course.
Seales did not explain why the administrators objected to “The Circle,” which satirizes the cultures and values that have emerged in the internet age. But she said the first concerns about one of the five books were raised in August, the Rapid City Journal reported.
“The first question arose when one of the three high school principals sent me a picture of a page in one of the books, an excerpt, and expressed concern that I wouldn’t. want in their classrooms,” she said Tuesday.
She said the books were ordered and sent to a warehouse before being distributed to the three high schools in the district. Copies of the five books in question were then listed as surplus and marked “for destruction”. The school board voted on Tuesday to delay the decision to destroy the books in order to seek legal advice.
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Eggers said seniors in Rapid City can receive any books that have been removed from high school for free by emailing Amanda Uhle at [email protected] He said the books will be shipped to students by independent bookstores.
Other books the district has pulled are “How Beautiful We Were: A Novel” by Imbolo Mbue, which follows a young woman from a small African village who sparks a revolution against an American oil company.
“Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” a graphic memoir about author Alison Bechdel’s strained relationship with her late father, and Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which some schools elsewhere have banned due to its references to drug and alcohol use and sexual content.
The other deleted book is Booker Prize-winning Girl, Woman, Other: A Novel by Bernardine Evaristo, which follows the lives and struggles of twelve characters, many of whom are black British women.