Honors American Literatures - DOC

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					North Lawndale College Prep Charter High School                                                             Christiana: (773)
                                                                                                        Collins: (773) 542.6766
Christiana: 1615 South Christiana, Chicago, Illinois 60623
Collins: 1313 South Sacramento Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60623

                                                   English Department

               NLCP Summer Reading Assignment – English II: American Literatures (Grade 10)
1, June 2011

Dear 2011-2012 English II: Honors American Literatures Student:

As a rising sophomore student, this summer is a critical period for your growth and development on your journey
towards college. Summer reading is an opportunity for you to work on your reading comprehension and fluency, and
this is so important so that when the school year starts you are prepared to begin working on skills that will help you
to be successful throughout the school year and beyond. Below you will find instructions on how to complete the
summer reading assignment

On the first day of the 2011/2012 school year you will be required to hand in your summer reading assignment. This
assignment will become your first graded assignment of the 2011-2012 school year. Students who fail to complete
the summer reading assignment will not feel prepared for the rigors of the sophomore classroom.

You MUST read the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This can be
borrowed from any number of city libraries, it can also be purchased from your local book store. In addition we will
provide you with a news article that you will be using as part of your after reading assignment.

The following assignments are required:
Read: Read the article “Proposed Sherman Alexie Book-Ban in Chicago Suburban High School” by Amy Guth
    1. Make a list of reasons people argue to ban The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Are these
         reasons A’s or B’s?
    2. Make a list of reasons people argue NOT to ban The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Are these
         reasons A’s or B’s?
Read: Read the Novel (DUH!) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.
    1. What driving questions do you think Sherman Alexie is trying to answer?
    2. How do you think Sherman Alexie would answer that driving question based on the reading?
    3. Write an essay explaining why you believe Sherman Alexie’s novel should or should NOT be banned in

Your Essay: Follow the outline below to make the best essay.
    Introduction:
            o Briefly introduce why the book should or should not be banned using background information
                from “Proposed Sherman Alexie Book-Ban in Chicago Suburban High School” by Amy Guth.
            o End with your claim that connects an A to a B supporting your argument.
    Paragraph 1 (MEL-Con): Use one piece of evidence from the novel (direct quote with page number) to
       support claim
    Paragraph 2 (MEL-Con): Use one piece of evidence from the novel (direct quote with page number) to
       support claim
       Paragraph 2 (MEL-Con): Use one piece of evidence from the novel (direct quote with page number) to
       support claim
    Conclusion:
            o Wrap up your essay.
            o Leave your reader with something interesting to think about!

We are looking forward to seeing you in August and being a part of your sophomore experience!
NLCP English Department
Proposed Sherman Alexie Book-Ban in Chicago
Suburban High School (Updated)

Amy Guth on 06.22.09 at 1:27 PM | 4 comments |

Chicago Tribune reports today that parents in the Chicago suburb of Antioch would like Sherman
Alexie's National Book Award-winning book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,
banned from freshman students' summer reading lists.

The novel tells the story of a 14-year-old Native American boy who leaves his school on a Washington
reservation, attends an all-white high school, and:

...faces many of the same challenges the incoming freshmen will face when they start school in the
fall, said John Whitehurst, chairman of the English department at Antioch High School.
The book sounds like the perfect story for a freshman reading list by most accounts. One might think
so, anyway. But, and this is a big but, some parents are not having it, citing racism, swearing and
sexual topics, and have taken to the school board, presumably, out of fear and their own discomfort
with given topics.

Jennifer Anderson said she was one of seven parents who attended the Community High School
District 117 School Board meeting Thursday to ask that the book be banned from the curriculum, or
at the very least be accompanied with a warning about the content.
Anderson also said she'd like to see this through to a national level to help push through a national
book rating system and that she read the book in order to help her son understand it. "I began
reading, and I started to cross out sections that I didn't want him to read," she said. "Soon I thought,
'Wait, this is not appropriate; he is not reading this.' "

You know where else that happens? Jail. Prison. Communist countries.

"I can't imagine anyone finding this book appropriate for a 13- or 14-year-old," said Anderson,
whose 14-year-old son will be a freshman this fall. "I have not met a single parent who is not
shocked by this. This is not appropriate for our community."
And, that statement right there is, from my view anyway, the real crux of the issue. By implying that
the book isn't appropriate "for our community" the subtext is that it is appropriate elsewhere, in
some other community. How very us and them. And, coming from a parent in 95.19% white and
largely Republican Antioch, I think her message is loud enough, thanks.

Would be be to awful to, say, allow her son to read the book and (gasp!) discuss potentially too-adult
or diverse topics with him rather than shrouding it in mystery? Or, better yet, allow the boy to read
the book only to realize that perhaps he can even identify with some issues facing the Native
American kid? Or, even allow him, this boy in Antioch, to see for himself that maybe the character of
the book's characters does not jive with him own? Or are his parents under-confident in the values
they've instilled in their son to be indeed enduring ones, to the extent that a diverse reading list could
thwart their best efforts? Really? Racism and swear words exist, as does freaky sex, and this young
man will turn out for the better for having discussed that and more, and will venture out into the
world on his own one day, aware such thing exist with confidence in his ability to make wise
decisions concerning such matters.

I realize that's asking a lot of most people.

Whitehurst said the book is filled with positive, life-affirming messages and has an especially
strong anti-alcohol message.

Anderson said she understands kids use profanity, but if it is part of the curriculum, the students
will believe the school condones it.

The Tribune article continues with Whitehurst making an excellent point to this end, too:

"That is like saying that because Romeo and Juliet committed teen suicide, we condone teen
suicide," Whitehurst said. "Kids know the difference. Like it or not, that is the way 14-year-old boys
talk to each other."

School Superintendent of District 117, Jay Sabatino, has not yet read the book, but will do so in
preparation for rendering a decision on the book today. You can bet I'll keep tabs and report back.
Admittedly, I fear the poor book doesn't stand a chance.

Meanwhile, on the heels of the remark Alexie made about the Amazon Kindle, I'm sure this mega-
flurry of press will make Alexie and his publisher, Hachette/Little-Brown, extremely pleased.

And, I can't help but wish Ms. Anderson the best in about a year and a half when her son begins to
flourish in his rebellious phase.

UPDATE: Chicago Tribune reports later this afternoon that after reading the book, District
Superintendent Jay Sabatino has announced Alexie's book is to stay on the summer reading list at
Antioch High School. The conversation about a parental advisory system for books, however, will be

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