A Texas school district has removed two books by Jerry Craft from its libraries after parents complained his graphic novels teach critical race theory, possibly in violation of a new state law, local television station KPRC reported.
The Katy Independent School District near Houston, which according to its website serves almost 89,000 students, also suspended a virtual appearance Craft was to make with grade-school students, NBC News said on Wednesday.
The district has stoked the latest controversy over critical race theory, a once-obscure academic concept that has frightened white conservatives who have rallied to ban it in schools, concerned that it overstates America's racist history. The theory, which examines how American institutions might be inherently racist, is mostly taught in law school.
A Texas law that took effect on Sept. 1 restricts discussions of race and history in schools. Republican Governor Greg Abbott said the law was a "strong move to abolish critical race theory."
Craft's "New Kid" and its sequel "Class Act" tell the stories of minority students who enroll in a predominantly white private school. His work has won the Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the Kirkus Prize, according to his website.
The Katy schools "temporarily" removed the books from the libraries, KPRC said, citing a district spokesperson. NBC, citing a district representative, said Craft's appearance set for Monday was postponed.
Reuters could not reach Katy school officials late Wednesday.
Bonnie Anderson, one of the parents who objected to the books, told KPRC, "It is inappropriate instructional material.
"The books don't come out and say, 'We want white children to feel like oppressors,' but that is absolutely what they will do," Anderson said.
Neither Craft nor his publicist at Harper Collins immediately responded to requests for comment. Craft wrote on Twitter last week: "???????? Apparently I'm teaching critical race theory," with an illustrated image of a man shrugging his shoulders.