The American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) takes sexual misconduct very seriously and believes that the issue requires further examination through discussion and education. In addition, the American Indian Library Association (AILA), a longstanding affiliate organization of ALA, released a statement regarding Alexie’s sexual misconduct.
After careful consideration, ALA PPO will continue to offer Sherman Alexie’s “Flight” as an optional title on the Great Stories Club reading list. The title will serve as a teaching tool to foster conversations.
Sherman Alexie’s “Flight” was selected by the Great Stories Club’s National Advisory Group to be part of the program’s curriculum in 2017 and was used in pilot library programs with support from an NEH planning grant. The novel is told from the perspective of Zits, a self-described “time-traveling mass murderer,” who finds himself transformed into the bodies of other people who each represent a violent part of the United States’ racial history. As such, the story provides a rich opportunity for a discussion of the Great Stories Club theme, “Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides.”
In consultation with the Great Stories Club’s scholars and advisors and the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, PPO will provide participating libraries with supplemental discussion questions that address the issues raised in both the sexual misconduct allegations and in AILA’s statement.
Additional program questions will enable participants to host productive discussions with participating teens about sexual harassment, the #MeToo movement, and the Empathy theme.