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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Portland band Portugal The Man offers to send banned books to kids in Alaska

The band Portugal The Man is claimed by two places: Portland, Oregon, where they live now, and Wasilla, Alaska, where several of the members are from.
Wasilla, once most famous as the home of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is home to Wasilla High School, where the band formed in 2001 as two students started playing music together.
Wasilla is part of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and it is there, according to Alaska’s KTOO News, that the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District School Board voted to ban several books from the district’s curriculum.
The books in question?
High school classics "The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison and “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“We’ve got five books here that are labeled as controversial and they’re controversial because of words like rape and incest and sexual references and language and things that are pretty serious problems, especially in our teenage world," said school board member Jeff Taylor in April, when the board made the decision. "Is there a reason that we include books that we even label as controversial in our curriculum? I would prefer that these were gone.”
“For us to put them in front of teenagers as part of our curriculum that’s just something I can’t, I just don’t understand,” he added.
Not everyone is happy about the decision and according to CNN, interest is growing in the banned books.
The school board is set to meet again Wednesday and review the decision. Meanwhile, Portugal The Man is offering to send the books to any student in the district who wants to read them.
They just need to email the band at sticksandstones@portugaltheman.com.
“Hopefully they get talked about, because that’s the whole point of having these books in the curriculum, is classroom conversation,” guitarist Eric Howk told KTOO. “And talking about difficult narratives and challenging stories, classroom conversation, is important.”

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