Actress Kristen Bell
© Reuters / Phil McCarten
Actress Kristen Bell
American actress Kristen Bell's debut into the world of children's literature has gotten off to a rocky start, with her story about a "purple person" widely condemned for trivializing racism - despite having nothing to do with it.

Bell says her first children's story - 'The World Needs More Purple People' - is meant to encourage kids to "look for similarities before differences" and to be inquisitive and open minded toward different viewpoints. Taking 'purple' to be a thinly veiled reference to skin color, however, netizens soon came out in force to denounce the story for brushing racism under the rug, and Bell herself as a "privileged white woman" ignoring the plight of real people of color.

Though the story itself makes no reference to race, containing no discussion of skin color and no purple-skinned characters, critics overwhelmingly interpreted the book as a tone-deaf lesson on 'colorblindness' - apparently not having read it.

Fellow children's author Kate Schatz even went as far as to imply that Bell is a racist, condescendingly inviting her to "talk" about the supposed transgressions of the book.

More 'purple' netizens, however, countered the critics, pointing out that the book is not about race but rather overcoming political and ideological differences, slamming the detractors for their "petty" criticism.