Thursday, September 26, 2013

Teen Book Club September - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Last night we had our September meeting of the Teen Book Club and we discussed The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  This week also happens to be Banned Books Week and TATDoaPTI was the 2nd most challenged book of 2012!

Sherman Alexie 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.

Here are the questions we used for discussion:

1. What did you think of the book in general? 
2. Who were your favorite characters in the book and why?
3. Did you have a favorite scene or part in the book?  Why did it stand out for you?
4. What does it mean for Junior to be a "part-time" Indian?
5. Would you have left the reservation if you were Junior, or another person living on the reservation in similar circumstances at him?
6. Why do you think fighting was such a big part of the culture on the rez?  (refer back to the rules of fighting on page 61)
7. What did Junior's drawings add to the book?  What did they say that the words did not?  How do Junior's drawings of himself change throughout the book?
8. Junior makes a list of all the tribes he belongs to, (page 217) what tribes would you say that you belong to?
9. This week is Banned Books Week!  This book was the 2nd most challenged book of 2012 for the following reasons: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.  What do you think about challenging/banning books?  With that in mind, how would you recommend this book to others?
10. Ratings and final thoughts!

Here are our ratings: (avg 7.8)

Clare - 6.5/10 - It was not my personal preference for a book, but it would be suited for the 10-16 year old age group.
Catherine - 9.5/10 - Perfect book for teens because its an easy read, not patronizing, funny, and honest!
Melanie - 7.5/10 - I liked how the writing fit the main character's personality.

Our book for October is a zombie book!  We will be reading Zom-B by Darren Shan.  Copies are available at the front desk and we will be meeting to discuss the book on Wednesday, October 30th from 5:30-6:30pm.  Snacks will served and we will get to preview November's new books before anyone else!

When the news starts reporting a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's father thinks it's a hoax-but even if it isn't, the two of them joke, it's only the Irish, right? That is, until zombies actually attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers. But when they come face-to-face with the ravenous, oozing corpses, all bets are off. There are no friends. No allies. Just whatever it takes to survive.

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