A New York Times The best-selling author suspects he was targeted in the wave of black book bans in the red states.
Derrick Barnesa children’s book author, told Alabama broadcaster WIAT on Thursday (January 26) that he believes school officials in Hoover and Alabaster, Alabama, canceled his book readings scheduled for Black History Month without explanation for political reasons – motivated by fear and Ignorance.
In 2021, the Alabama State Board of Education banned Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 schools. Alabama is just one of several mostly GOP-dominated state governments opposing CRT, a college-level academic framework for analyzing systemic racism not taught in elementary or secondary schools.
But conservatives have affixed a CRT label to any classroom lessons or materials pertaining to race and America’s racial history — glossing over history, critics say.
After news weeka disproportionate number of banned books are by writers of color and LGBTQ backgrounds.
Under the CRT banner, school officials have banned a long list of classic black literature: including Maya Angelou‘s I know why the bird in the cage sings, The colour purple from Alice Walkerand Richard Wright‘s Born sonaccording to ACLU.
On Wednesday (January 25), Hoover’s Bluff Park Elementary School informed staff that Barnes would not be attending school as planned. A school official later told WIAT that the cancellations were due to a contract issue.
After WIAT published his story, Alabaster City Schools told the channel that they were working with Barnes’ team to “resolve the logistics and any misunderstandings surrounding his original date.”
Barnes said it would be a “blatant lie” to imply he had withdrawn from the events.
A graduate of Jackson State University in Kansas City, Missouri, Barnes is the author of Krone: An ode to the fresh cutwho has received several awards, according to his website, including a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers.
Crowna 2017 children’s book he wanted to read to high school students in Alabama is a poem inspired when he saw a drawing of his illustrator’s teenage son after a visit to the barber’s.
“It took me back to my childhood, sitting in that barber chair and getting a killer haircut, probably the only place in the black community where boys are treated like royalty. Still are,” he said. “It’s a poem about self-affirmation and how the world might not see your brilliance or your beauty, but you do, and everyone around you who loves you can definitely see it, recognize it.”
Barnes told WIAT that his children’s books do not contain rationally offensive material and children of all races could benefit from reading them.
“It’s important that white kids get a chance to see kids who don’t look like them, doing the same things they do: have families, have people around them who love and care for them, and just doing everyday things,” Barnes said.