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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Update: School Board OKs ‘Namesake’

The Coeur d’Alene School Board has approved a teacher’s request to have high school seniors read “The Namesake,” a 2004 novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, despite a district book review committee’s concerns about explicit descriptions of sexual conduct.

The Coeur d’Alene School District’s Ad Hoc Committee for Literature, which includes parents and other residents, declined to recommend adoption of the novel, which chronicles the difficult transition to American culture by a family from India.

But the board voted 5-0 Monday night to approve use of the novel, along with such other titles as “Peter Pan” for grade 6, “The Giver” for grade 7 and “The Book Thief” for grade 11.

Lake City High School teacher Kirsten Pomerantz submitted “The Namesake” for 12th grade English students, citing a need for current works from American authors. The novel is about the conflict between opposing cultures, religious beliefs and ideologies in the context of immigration to America, Pomerantz outlined in her proposal.

The volunteer review committee also has recommended the school board approve “Lord of the Flies” for grade 10 and “Catcher in the Rye” for grade 11 at its next meeting/Scott Maben, SR.

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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