Right now in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania books are being removed from libraries and schools. Books by Black authors, books about Black history and books on critical race theory. Books on the Holocaust. Books about LGBTQ people.
The list includes Maus by Art Spiegelman, books about Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe.
And New Kid by Jerry Craft.
New Kid was taken off the shelves because certain (white) parents felt that it was an unrealistic portrayal of life for an African American at a largely white school. And because they thought their own, white children would read it and feel sad or guilty.
I can’t quite believe I have to ask this question. How can we ban books that are just… about Black people?
We bough and read New Kid. It’s about a lovely, nerdy, arty boy joining an elite school where most of the kids are white. There are awkward moments, micro-aggressions, and a general difficulty fitting in. Not just for the kids of colour, I must point out. But for white kids too.
It’s a beautiful, funny story with poignant moments dropped in in a sensitive, gentle way that’s perfect for kids and young adults. I can’t wait for my kids to read it.
And while we’re here, it would have been Rosa Parks’s birthday last week. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Rosa Parks. A thank you from me, a white person. Thank you for giving us a lesson in respect and humanity.