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Controversy over children's books in Texas schools continue, as one author says her books are not 'pornographic'

Parents in Keller ISD clashed over the potential removal of certain books from school libraries as leaders look into potentially 'pornographic' books statewide.

Parents in Keller ISD clashed over the potential removal of certain books from school libraries. The conversation started after the district removed a book on gender identity from one library. 

Now, some parents are calling for all books they view to be sexually explicit removed from district libraries. 

“Please stop the cancer of sexualizing students with pornographic books and illustrations,” said one parent.

“Why are we so concerned about the books in our libraries when many of these same kids have access to way worse content on their phones and their TV’s?,” another parent pointed out. 

The heated conversation at one North Texas district may be just the beginning. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has asked education leaders to investigate what pornography may be available in public schools. He didn’t clarify what he considers to be pornography. 

His ask comes just days after State Representative Matt Krause released a list of 850 books, hoping to find out if any of the 850 titles – mostly about race and sexuality -- are in Texas public schools. 

RELATED: Texas book inquiry: What are the consequences if a district has one of the 800 titles identified? Rep leading the charge won't say

Jo Knowles is the author of two of the books on the list. She wrote stories about tragedy and overcoming challenges, but both stories involve gay characters, and she thinks that is the reason her books were mentioned. 

“That’s the only thing those two books have in common,” Knowles said. “The content is all about kindness and welcoming and loving and being a good friend – all the things that we want our kids to be.” 

“We give books to kids about these topics to teach them about history and to build empathy,” Knowles said. “And when those things happen combined, kids learn to recognize injustice.”

So far, school districts have been split on how to respond to Krause’s ask. Austin, Houston and Dallas school districts have dismissed the inquiry. Fort Worth said they will comply. 

RELATED: Austin ISD won't respond to request from Texas House on books about racism and sexuality, report says

Keller’s board of trustees said they will create committees to read and sort through any questionable books. 

They’ve listed current book challenges on this website: https://www.kellerisd.net/Page/7364