IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Jerry Craft wrote 'New Kid' based on his life. Then it got banned.

The ban raises old questions about who gets to decide what's appropriate for kids. Plus, host Trymaine Lee's daughter on representation in books.

About the episode:

Jerry Craft’s graphic novel New Kid has won multiple awards, made the New York Times Best Sellers List, and is beloved by children across the country. But this year, New Kid made headlines for a different reason when a Texas school district pulled the book from its shelves after a white parent complained that it promoted Critical Race Theory and Marxism.

Craft was surprised. The story is based on his own experiences as a young Black kid attending a mostly white private school in New York City. “I had to Google Critical Race Theory and try to find out how I was, how I was teaching it,” he tells Into America.

New Kid was born in part because Craft felt that stories about Black kids tend to dwell on trauma instead of normal life. "I just wanted to have kids where the biggest dilemma in their life is if they wanted to play PlayStation or Xbox, or what movie they wanted to go see, you know, as opposed to always having the weight of the world,” he says. “Those are important stories, but I think we have to give kids things to aspire to and to dream."

The school district reinstated New Kid after a review, but the ordeal raised old questions about what kind of books are challenged in schools, and who gets to decide what is appropriate for children.

Host Trymaine Lee’s 9-year-old daughter Nola read New Kid for her summer reading, and she loved it. Trymaine brings her on the show to talk about the book and representation in children’s literature.

“I mean, obviously, if you grow up in a world where you see yourself, that might tell you like, I can't do this, I'm not able to do this, or I'm not capable of this,” she tells her dad. “So I think that in general, just seeing people that look like you and representation as a whole is very important.”

Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at

Find the transcript here.

Listen here:

Apple Podcasts


Google Podcasts