In the wake of a racial controversy over the classroom use of a Knopf children's book entitled Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron (with illustrations by J Cepeda), sales of the book have skyrocketed. Originally published in 1997, the book depicts a black girl with an unruly head of hair in the midst of a supportive family gathering.

A white third-grade teacher in Brooklyn came under attack from some parents who found the book offensive, though the book's author is a black professor of the classics who wrote it to celebrate her own African-American heritage. Nevertheless, the teacher, who claims she was physically threatened by some parents, has decided to leave the school over fear for her safety. The book was generally praised by most reviewers.

Kristina Petersen, director of Random House children's publishing, told PW that since the controversy began just before Thanksgiving, the company has "pretty much sold out" the 33,000 copies of the hardcover edition. "There's demand across the country," said Petersen. Random House rushed their 15,000-copy paperback edition (which was scheduled for January) into print and it sold out immediately. Petersen told PW that the house will go back to press for an additional 15,000 paperback copies.

Beginning at the 2000 ranking (and likely much lower before the controversy began) on the sales list last week, the book moved up to 218 within the week. Herron was interviewed about the incident on the Today show on December 2 and is also slated to appear on NBC Nightly News, World News Tonight, Johnnie Cochran's Court TV show and on the Montel Williams Show.