Award-winning children’s book author Derrick Barnes was scheduled to visit three schools in Alabama during Black History Month. But just before Barnes’ planned appearances in February, the invitation to Hoover and Alabaster City Schools was abruptly canceled.

Award-winning children’s book author Derrick Barnes, known for writing stories for and featuring Black children, will no longer be visiting three Hoover City Schools, a school system just south of Birmingham, Alabama area this week.

The cancellation incited outrage from frustrated parents, teachers, and Hoover residents, some of whom channeled anger into activism. Hundreds have come together to raise a portion of the $9,900 Barnes would have been paid for the events.

He said the cancellations are part of a nationwide trend of “limiting access to books that feature Black protagonists and books that tell the truth about American history.”

Schools Superintendent Dee Fowler later admitted that Barnes had provided some of the requested information but not all of it.

Ashley Dorough, a parent of a 7-year-old student at one of the schools where the event was canceled, launched a fundraiser Wednesday, a week after the announcement. So far, $4,300 has been donated, covering Barnes’ promised payment at one of the schools.

The district’s move to cancel Barnes’ visits triggered concerns of censorship amid controversial book bans in some parts of the country, specifically targeting titles related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

In Alabama, the state’s board of education adopted a resolution in 2021 titled “Declaring the Preservation of Intellectual Freedom and Non-Discrimination in Alabama’s Public Schools,”