TROY - The Troy Area School Board tabled a decision Tuesday night on approving for usage in Grade 10 World Literature a critically-acclaimed book that was also one of the most frequently challenged books in 2008.

Described by "Entertainment Weekly" as "a moving portrait of modern Afghanistan," the book, "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini, was a number-one New York Times Bestseller.

Critics have raved over the novel, which has received several honors such as being named a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year and an American Library Association Notable Book, among other distinctions.

However, some in Troy have expressed concern about the novel. When asked for comment, district superintendent W. Charles Young said that three or four people had emailed the district with concerns about the book and one person had called. He said a couple people alluded to a rape scene in the book. Young said those contacting the district were also concerned about offensive language in the book.

According to Young, the book is proposed to be optional reading for honors students in tenth grade. He said it would help satisfy certain state mandates regarding World Literature and getting into Middle East culture.

According to the website of the American Library Association, "The Kite Runner" was one of the most frequently challenged books in 2008.

It describes a challenge as "a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness."

The association listed the reasons for the book's challenged status as "offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group."

"Set amid the destruction of contemporary Afghanistan, this debut novel follows two boys, linked by love, lies, sacrifice, and betrayal, whose friendship endures, despite different life paths," the Young Adult Library Services Association noted on its website.

Board member Larry Grace made the motion to table approving the book, stating that he wanted a chance to read "what's in there."

"I had many emails and letters, and I do not feel comfortable voting on it until I've had time to read it," he said.

"I think we ought to talk about that," board member Ursula Fox said. She was also in favor of tabling a vote on approving the book.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: