Jen & I (Two Washington women as we have come to be known by the Idaho press) would like to thank everyone- from the bottom of our hearts- for the tremendous support this book drive has received. We exceeded our goal of 350 books in six days (!!!) and are no longer accepting donations. Further thanks are due to Mr. Alexie's Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for their extremely generous donation of an additional 350 copies! That means over 700 books made their way to Meridian students- how cool is that?
Many of you may have arrived at this page through links on Gawker, Christian Science Monitor, The Stranger, or Publisher's Weekly. Before you contact us with questions or post more about the drive, please check out the FAQs below:
Q: Someone called the cops because books were being distributed in the park? What's up with that, Idaho?
A: Yes, one person did call the police, and the internet didn't care much for that all. The person was concerned that "obscene sexual material" was being distributed to teenagers in a public park. The police did their due diligence, checked out the book, and found nothing unlawful going on. After talking to the officers, the man calmed down and even took a book for himself! We can consider him a convert.
It's also worth noting that this person is not representative of the entire state of Idaho. Without a handful of amazing Idahoans, we Washingtonians would never have been able to pull this off! Please know, too, that True Diary is an oft-challenged book. Not just in Idaho, but in many states- maybe even yours!
Q: Does Sherman Alexie know??
A: He sure does! He even Tweeted about it! Isn't he great?
Q: What'd you do with all those books?
A: 315 (out of about 350) were distributed at Kleiner Park in Meridian, ID on World Book Night, April 23rd! The rest went to Rediscovered Bookshop for students to pick up there, but they didn't last long. The shipment from Little, Brown (another 350) should arrive shortly and will first be used to fulfill classroom and library set requests then be made available to students again.
Q: Can I have leftovers if you have any?
A: If you live in the Boise/Meridian area and are a student, you are first priority! If you live in the Boise/Meridian area and are not a student, you have second priority. If you fit neither of these criteria, then we are unfortunately unable to get you a book. Please don't let that stop you from picking up your own copy to read! It will be worth it, we promise!
Q: How'd this thing get started?
A: The short answer is that Jen & I read about the Meridian School District's decision to remove True Diary from the supplemental reading list despite 350 students having signed a petition to keep it. We love the book and wanted to share it with the students who were obviously disappointed with the school board's decision. We started the book drive with the help of a teacher and a librarian in Meridian, and the expectation that we might only get 25-30 books. Needless to say, we got quite a few more than that! We partnered with Rediscovered Bookshop- an indie bookseller in Boise- to purchase the books at a good price through the publisher. Two thumbs way up for Rediscovered and Little, Brown again!
Wally of Rediscovered, Brady- our student volunteer, and our teacher & librarian (who have chosen to remain unsung heroes in all of this) along with a smattering of other wonderful volunteers distributed the books and we couldn't be happier about it!