The Katy, Texas school district has chosen not to remove a children’s biography about Michelle Obama from its libraries after receiving a parent’s complaint arguing the reading material is “leftist indoctrination.”
The unidentified parent expressed feeling the book Michelle Obama: Political Icon by Heather E. Schwartz promotes “reverse racism” and “unfairly” portrays former President Donald Trump as a “bully.” They asked that the book be removed from every grade level, according to a list of 50 books Texas parents tried to get banned last year, according to NBC News.
The parent also said the book makes it seem as though “if you sound like a white girl you should be ashamed of yourself.”
The “Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Resources” adds to the similar filings made across the state of Texas and in districts across the U.S. against books that tackle topics related to racism and sexuality.
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“There have always been efforts to censor books, but what we’re seeing right now is frankly unprecedented,” a retired school librarian and Austin, Texas-based lead of the #FReadom campaign Carolyn Foote told NBC News recently. “A library is a place of voluntary inquiry. That means when a student walks in, they’re not forced to check out a book that they or their parents find objectionable. But they also don’t have authority to say what books should or shouldn’t be available to other students.”
Schwartz, the author at the center of the controversy, has also spoken out about the attempted banned on her book in recent days.
She said she was “shocked that anyone would want to ban” her children’s biography about Obama in a statement shared by PEOPLE.
“This is a nonfiction book that doesn’t strike me as at all controversial,” the author said. “I take great pains in my work to present fact-based information and avoid any political slant,”
“As an author, a reader, and a parent, I’m against book banning on principle,” Schwartz added. “There couldn’t be a safer way for kids to learn about difficult topics, gain new perspectives, and explore the world and their place in it than by reading words on a page.”