The rock band Portugal. The Man is offering to send banned books to students in Alaska. The State.
The band made the offer after hearing that the Mat-Su Borough School District School Board in Palmer, Alaska, had removed five books from its schools’ curricula.
The banned books include Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.
The decision to ban the books rankled members of Portugal. The Man, which originated in the Mat-Su Borough town of Wasilla, KTOO News reports.
Eric Howk, who plays guitar for the band, said the ban had backfired, causing the books to “rocket up the charts” among young people in the Mat-Su Borough.
“Hopefully they get talked about, because that’s the whole point of having these books in the curriculum, is classroom conversation,” Howk said. “And talking about difficult narratives and challenging stories, classroom conversation, is important.”
On Twitter, the band offered fans a “Boycott the Book Ban” logo to use as they see fit.
APYR we are making the “Boycott The Book Ban” logo free for you all to use. Make a shirt, sticker, poster, tattoo, whatever. Spread the word. Send us pics. https://t.co/qVAtaEQMu9 pic.twitter.com/oByPYKXFg2— PTM (@portugaltheman) May 4, 2020
“We are making the ‘Boycott The Book Ban’ logo free for you all to use,” the band tweeted. “Make a shirt, sticker, poster, tattoo, whatever. Spread the word.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.