KATY MAGAZINE NEW
October 5, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy ISD has canceled an author’s visit due to parental concerns. Now, award-winning books by New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Jerry Craft have been withdrawn from school libraries pending official review.
Author Jerry Craft Talk canceled
Many Katy’s Grades 3 through 5 were eagerly awaiting to meet the author and illustrator Jerry Crafts via Zoom. That reunion was called off after a group of Katy’s parents raised concerns about books that refer to Critical Race Theory.
Craft is the winner of the Newberry Medal 2020, the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the Kirkus Prize for his graphic novel “New Kid” and his sequel “Class Act”.
Katy’s mother, Bonnie Anderson, received the school flyer from her third-grade twins, as did many of Katy’s parents.
“I go through all of their teaching materials, whether it’s a spreadsheet or something,” says Bonnie Anderson, who previously ran for a position on the Katy ISD board.
Anderson has read Jerry Craft’s books and worried about the way racism is presented in them and thinks they are pushing a critical program of racial theory.
According to Anderson, the book depicts white children showing children micro-aggressions over color. She admits the books don’t come out and say, “We want white kids to feel like oppressors,” but that’s what she thinks the books do.
SB 3739 became law on September 1 and prohibits schools from presenting material critical of racial theory in social studies.
“It’s very subversive because they don’t call it Critical Race Theory and it’s not featured in social studies,” Anderson said.
Anderson created a petition that had 500 signatures before Change.org removed it for violating their policies.
Many other parents are upset by the cancellation
While these 500 parents are upset, many think the opposite.
“I hope the school board will listen to all the parents in the community and not just a few who are upset,” said Katy’s mother Angie Waller, who encourages parents to read the books for themselves.
According to Craft’s website, “New Kid is an honest and timely novel about starting over in a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real.”
“The struggles that the main character experienced is still happening today,” Waller explains. “It is important that all students are exposed to real life. Even if they have never experienced it themselves, they should learn what their friends and other classmates have been through.
Katy ISD Statement:
“Any parent of Katy ISD who chooses to challenge a library selection is encouraged to follow the EF (local) district board policy which outlines the process for formally challenging an educational resource. Books in the Katy ISD Library are regularly reviewed through this process. Pending the outcome of a review committee, the school day’s activities associated with the selection under review are temporarily suspended. Academic activities relating to selections under examination and organized outside of the teaching day may, however, continue while a formal examination process is taking place.
Anderson raised his concerns with Superintendent Dr. Ken Gregorski and the Katy ISD Board of Directors.
“I don’t like banning books,” Anderson says. “If people want their kids to read this, go ahead. They are widely available, but that shouldn’t have a place in a tax-funded school.
“It perpetuates racism and it could create a division among children,” Anderson said. “It teaches students that it’s hard to get along and that kids might not want to be friends with other kids of different colors after reading it. There is a lot of good literature on real racism. ”
Although Jerry Craft did not respond to questions from Katy Magazine, he is active on Twitter, retweeting tweets from Katy’s students reading her books in response to her cancellation of her visit.
Universal images to make a movie
Universal Pictures has acquired the film rights to “New Kid ”, with LeBron James’ The Spring Hill Company on board to develop and produce.
Katy ISD launches a new invitation to crafts
Katy ISD invited Jerry Craft to talk to the students outside of the teaching day.
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