A Texas school district has temporarily removed books from an author after parents claimed the subject matter teaches critical race theory.
Author and illustrator Jerry Craft's "New Kid" and sequel "Class Act" were removed from Katy Independent School District libraries after a parent petition objecting to books and an author's Oct. 4 virtual visit with 3rd through 5th graders at Roosevelt Alexander Elementary school, KPRC-2 in Houston reported.
The books' film rights were bought by Universal Pictures, which LeBron James' The Spring Hill Company will develop and produce.
"Per Katy ISD policy, instructional day activities are put on hold until the review occurs," Katy ISD spokesperson Laura Davis told KPRC-2, noting the 15-day review. "The author has been invited to present outside of the instructional day and the district is working on that now."
Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law in September banning critical race theory teachings in K-12 public schools.
"It is inappropriate instructional material," parent Bonnie Anderson, a former Katy ISD school board candidate who is also suing the district for its COVID-19 mask mandate, told KPRC-2.
"They are pointed at white children displaying microaggressions to children of color. The books don't come out and say, 'we want white children to feel like oppressors,' but that is absolutely what they will do."
Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that the U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.
"'New Kid' is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft," the book's publicist writes.
Parent Omerly Sanchez, who told KPRC-2 her two kids like the book and the author who "looks like them," called the critics of the book's teachings "part of the problem."
"They want to live in this bubble," she told the local TV outlet. "They're uncomfortable with touching the subject. They're uncomfortable knowing that they're part of the problem.
After having his visit canceled amid the 15-day review, Craft tweeted a response to questions why the books were pulled and his visit was canceled:
"???????? Apparently I'm teaching critical race theory."
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