The school board of Rapid City, South Dakota, plans to destroy about 400 copies of the following books: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue, and Dave Eggers’s The Circle. All of these books had been assigned to English 12 classes for local high school seniors. The books have been pulled from reading lists, and designated for destruction based on their content.
(There is a grim chart that shows plans for a bunch of school possessions. Desks and chalkboards are “to be recycled” while the books in question are “to be destroyed.” The language is telling. See the chart here in a story by the Rapid City Journal.)
In response, Dave Eggers is offering any Rapid City-area high school seniors free copies of any of the books that are going to be destroyed. These students can get the books at their local bookstore, at no cost. Students can head over to Mitzi’s Books (510 Main St, Rapid City), and just ask. Or they can write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll ship you the books.
“The mass destruction of books by school boards is an unconscionable horror," Eggers said, "And the freethinking young people of South Dakota shouldn’t be subjected to it. For every copy the school board destroys, let’s add a new one to the local circulation.”
The next school board meeting, where they will likely address their plans for the destruction of these books, is May 17, so Eggers will travel to Rapid City on May 16 to hold an event with Mitzi’s Books. There, students, teachers and—we hope; still working on it—some of the other banned authors will discuss books and their proposed destruction. Come and be heard! Watch this space for more details.