EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – An Edmond children’s book author says her books about Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, inclusivity, and diversity are currently being challenged in Florida school districts.

Mary Nhin has published over 250 children’s books since 2019.

“We’ve sold over 4 million books in over 13 countries,” added Nhin.

  • Mary Nhin's children's books allegedly being challenged in Florida. KFOR photo.
  • Mary Nhin's children's books allegedly being challenged in Florida. KFOR photo.
  • Mary Nhin's children's books allegedly being challenged in Florida. KFOR photo.

In her time of writing children’s books, she said she has never been challenged.

Not only are her books in Florida, but they can be found in schools nationwide, according to Nhin.

Nhin said she even has books in Oklahoma City, Yukon, Mustang, Edmond, Ada, and more.

Last week, Nhin started receiving numerous emails and comments from Florida educators who claimed her books were now being challenged.

“I loved these and so did my students! Unfortunately, they were ‘not approved’ to be in my library here in Florida,” said one Florida educator.

“I’m a Florida teacher and this hurts,” wrote another.

Many of those who wrote in claim Nhin’s books are being challenged because of a newly signed law.

That newly signed law was first introduced in the Florida House as HB 1557.

The bill is aimed at reinforcing a parent’s fundamental right to make decisions regarding the care and upbringing of his or her child in the public school setting.

“The bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” HB 1557 reads.

Nhin said she’s confused because none of her books have anything to do with sexual orientation or gender identity.

She said she knew her books on diversity and inclusion were “debatable topics,” but never imagined having those books challenged.

“I feel very sad for the children who are not able to hear from diverse voices and perspectives, that they’ll be missing those insights,” explained Nhin. “It seems like [Florida HB 1775] is just a gateway to ban books about racism, diversity, inclusion.”

Her purpose in writing these books was to help children overcome challenges and strengthen their life skills.

“All of my books have an underlying theme of grit and mental toughness. That’s where my passion lies. I love to help children develop confidence and grit,” said Nhin.

Nhin told KFOR she fears her books may now be questioned in Oklahoma.

Last month, the Senate passed SB 397 which would essentially ban “inappropriate” reading material from all libraries.

“These bills are effectively going to erase the history and lived experiences of marginalized communities and censor any type of discussion about it,” said the American Civil Liberties Union Oklahoma Director of Policy and Advocacy, Cindy Nguyen.

Nhin said the alleged book challenge and fear of the same situation happening in Oklahoma won’t deter her from writing books though.

“I’m still trucking along,” she said.

Nhin added she just released a new children’s book about Harriet Tubman.

News 4 has reached out to the Florida Governor’s Office to see if Nhin’s books violate the new law, but haven’t heard back.

News 4 also reached out to the author of SB 397, Senator Warren Hamilton about Nhin’s books and whether or not they’d be deemed “inappropriate.” We haven’t heard back from him either.

Moving forward though, Nhin is hoping if her books are being challenged in Florida that they’re undergoing the proper process.

“Please follow the correct procedures to ban a book. From what I’m hearing and what Penn America did in their research, they found that most of the bans that are occurring in books in Florida have not gone through the correct procedural protocols. And instead they are being ripped off the shelves by one person thumbing through a book,” added Nhin.