Stories from the battlefield of Children’s literature

“Right across the Anglosphere, parents are rising against woke ideology in schools, but an even bigger problem is our children’s bookshelves”, says Heroes of Liberty editor Bethany Mandel, “too many of the books in schools and public libraries, push ideologies that cause real, often irreversible damage to children.

Today’s children’s books are loaded with gender fluidity, critical race theory, LGBTQ issues and a multitude of ideas, guaranteed to confuse your child about their sexuality, identity and heritage.”

Books such as The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag featuring a lesbian relationship, Tiffany Jewell’s This Book Is Anti-Racist which blatantly pushes race activism, and Alex Gino’s Rick, about a boy who needs to explore his own identity among countless others. Some of the material is so disturbing, that it beggars belief that these titles are actually aimed at children.”

Mandel’s advice to parents is to be vigilant and steer away from Scholastic Press, or as Mandel calls them ‘The Woketopus’. The famous brand once synonymous with innocent family fun “has gone dangerously woke, smuggling propaganda into homes through schools and teachers who recommend the books to kids. Scholastic is the publisher of Alex Gino’s George which promotes transgender identity for children as young as 8 years old – this is more than creepy” stresses Mandel, “this is dangerous because when your child reads stories, they read them in an unfiltered way and it can damage them for life.”

A section from George, as recently cited on TV by Mandel herself, reads:

‘George stopped. It was such a short, little question, but she couldn’t make her mouth form the sounds. Mom, what if I’m a girl? The book mentions a beautiful woman named Tina, the interviewer said that Tina had been born a boy, then asked her whether she had had the surgery, the woman replied that she is a transgender woman and that what she had between her legs was nobody’s business but hers and her boyfriend’s. So George knew it could be done: a boy could become a girl. She had since read that you could take girl hormones that would change your body and you can get a bunch of different surgeries if you wanted them and had the money.’

I tell Mandel that the loaded section brings to mind Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. “Exactly,” she replies, “these are serious, life changing steps, specially when you consider the many children who regret their transition, these things have long-lasting implications and as a society we must ask ourselves why we allow vulnerable children to be exposed to them, this book is medically and psychologically dangerous.”

But it is not just George or Scholastic, “children’s books in libraries and schools everywhere are planting toxic seeds in vulnerable young minds – there was a book that three friends sent me, that was on display at all of their libraries, called How Mamas Love Their Babies. It has a positive depiction of someone who works in a red light district, the neon lights, the high heels, it’s just another way that this mama feeds her baby, and the message is that you have to respect that kind of work, and this is a children’s book probably for ages two to five.” Another example of many is Tae Keller’s When You Trap a Tiger which includes a subplot where the main character’s sister identifies as bisexual. “This subplot creates a frustrating and highly undesirable situation for the many parents who consider sexuality an adult issue,” not to be discussed with a young child.

“Standing up for what is right means swimming against the orthodoxy tide and parents are afraid to do it. That said, the average parent, if they know that their child’s book contains a sex scene between two 11 year old girls at a sleepover, they’re not okay with that – you wouldn’t let your child watch a pornographic show or movie and that’s what this is, only in book form.”

No manhood for boys no motherhood for girls

In today’s woke publishing industry “a white straight man and normal cis white females would have smaller chances of getting published” argues Mandel, “this environment would not have C.S. Lewis a voice, and the likelihood is we wouldn’t have J.K. Rowling either, which are two examples they would be fine doing without, but what a loss to our culture that would be.”

The good news is that publishers are starting to rise to the challenge of creating children’s books they reflect values and attitudes that do not go against the ‘average’ parent’s morality. The Tuttle Twins for example, teach kids what free market is and how our political system works, Brave Books takes children on wild adventures with animal characters to learn how to be brave, while Heroes of Liberty tells bigger than life stories of bigger than life heroes. Awe-inspiring leaders, thinkers and doers who even when dealt a nasty hand in life, rose to overcome adversity. Heroes such as the noble Thomas Sowell whose gripping story Thomas Sowell: A Self Made Man sends children the positive message of working hard to pave your own path in life, Alexander Hamilton who laid the foundations for a free America, John Wayne who as a poor child, rode his horse to and from school for several miles every day, and Amy Coney Barrett who became a Supreme Court judge while raising a large family.

Today’s buzzword for girls is ambition

“Today’s buzzword for girls books is ambition,” explained Mandel, herself a mother of five, “you have books about women scientists and astronauts which is all great, but that ambition does not extend to motherhood, there is never a conversation about having children.” Supreme justice judge Amy Coney Barrett is “a modern example of the fact that you can have not just a family, but a large family, prioritise that family and achieve the pinnacle of your profession.”

While the buzzword for girls is ambition, “for boys it is the idea of toxic masculinity – modern boys’ literature teaches boys to be unboy-like and to be basically girls. We were looking for positive male role models that don’t incorporate this pathology about toxic masculinity, and John Wayne stood out as the antithesis of the modern conversation about masculinity, indeed, the tagline for this all-American hero’s book is manhood and honour.”

Manhood and Honour. As a poor boy John Wayne rode a horse to and from school, for several miles each day

Here I noted the pivotal work of Christina Hoff Sommers who famously argued that masculine traits are discouraged in schools where “boys are treated like defective girls”. Upon my remark, Mandel excitedly tells me that she just met The War Against Boys author, and handed the latter a copy of John Wayne: Manhood and Honour.

Thomas Sowell – A Self Made Man

Heroes of Liberty’s stories stand out because they manage to convey sophisticated concepts without over simplifying, or as Mandel puts it, unnecessarily ‘spoon feeding the child’. The beautifully illustrated biographies expose children to a reality and level of physical hardship that many, would find hard to even imagine. A great example here is Thomas Sowell: A Self Made Man, teaching kids about the value of self confidence, persistence and hard work.

The book opens with the words “Thomas Sowell was born in 1930, in Gastonia, North Carolina during the time of segregation in the South.” We learn that Sowell’s childhood home had no running water, electricity or indoor toilets, that they used kerosene lamps for light and that when ‘little Tommy’, as he was affectionately called, needed a bath, they heated up water on a wood-burning stove to fill up a portable tin tub. We hear of how his stubbornness, coupled with high intelligence and hard work, saw him progressing in spite of hardship and strife.

These stories expose children to a reality and level of physical hardship that many would find hard to even imagine

As a child he delivered groceries in Harlem so he could afford the subway rides to school, and when he was just 17, he left home to fend for himself – it was far from smooth sailing but even when penniless and eating only dry bread and jelly, he chose to persevere rather than beg or ask for favours.

Sowell became a world renowned economist and thinker who advised governments and influenced millions worldwide. In Congress, facing then-senator Joe Biden, he made an argument that embodies his entire philosophy – “everyone,” he stated, “regardless of skin colour, should receive equal treatment under the law. Unequal treatment was wrong when people’s intentions were bad, like with Jim Crow laws in the South. Unequal treatment was also wrong when people’s intentions were good, like giving people advantages without regard to their real achievements.” With this statement, one of the core, possibly eternal Left-Right political arguments, is delivered to young readers with clarity, grace and not a hint of bias or condescension.

In congress, facing then senator Biden Sowell stated that Unequal treatment was wrong when people’s intentions were bad, like with Jim Crow laws in the South. Unequal treatment was also wrong when people’s intentions were good, like giving people advantages without regard to their real achievements

Children are sure to empathise with the protagonist’s endearing stubbornness, and be inspired by his unwavering quest to pursue what is right. His life journey will engage them as he stands up to the older boys in the playground, and when as a university professor, he practices what he preaches and rather than grant a desperately struggling student a passing grade, he motivates her to work hard and earn her grades with pride. It might be classified as a children’s book but my guess is that many parents will be moved by Sowell’s integrity, conviction and charm – it is also my guess that many adults reading this with their little ones, will end up delving deeper into this intellectual giant’s work.

Intersection between parenting and politics – No Left Turn in Education

The emerging none woke publishers have identified a widening hole in the market – as awareness to woke ideology’s harmful affect on children grows, so does the demand for material that does not go against the ‘average’ parent’s morality. “This goes deeper than just watching what your child is reading or what they are told at school” noted No Left Turn in Education’s founder Elana Fishbein, ”parents are confronting the people who hijacked the school, took our kids as hostages and pushed parents out of their own kids’ education.” – books are a pivotal part of this awakening.” Recognizing the incursion of these highly offensive books into the classroom and the school library is a pivotal part of parents’ awakening.  Parents are reasserting their rights as the one who have the primary responsibility for their children, and that includes their education.

Furthermore, in a recent newsletter of her organization No Left Turn in Education Fishbein noted that Scholastic has “teamed up with the American Library Association to form an alliance in pursuit of a radical political agenda. While professing to care about children, these organizations disguise their true agenda: To turn kids into radical social activists while disrupting the family.” This agenda means that any school child searching their school library for material about a historical figure, will “find books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg but not Clarence Thomas, literature that celebrates Colin Kaepernick but omits Condoleezza Rice and Thomas Sowell.”
Parents everywhere are wising up to this, and becoming more vocal in their objection but just as parents’ vigilance heightens, so do activist educators and librarians’ efforts to undermine parents’ moral authority. The result is an open, increasingly political battle between educators and parents

Several clips of angry parents scolding their child’s woke schools’ governing bodies have gone viral, showing just how divorced parents’ view of morality is from that of the school’s. “These are our kids, not yours!” shouted one angry dad, bringing to mind Bezmenov’s dystopian vision of the state purposely coming between parents and their children. No Left Turn in Education’s newsletter illustrates this disturbing reality.  It describes a tweet by a New York School librarian, who “brags how she instructs students on how to circumvent their parents to access sexually explicit books in the school library.”  “As a school librarian” tweeted Arlene Alaverde, “I recently gave a presentation to students and said your parents can stop me from lending you books to take home. But they can’t stop me from telling you where they are. And if your BFF borrows the book and they lend it to you.” This was retweeted by author Alex Gino whose book George, whose book “tells kids (‘recommended’ for children as young as 8 years old) that they can research transgender hormone treatments and surgeries in secret, by deleting their parents’ web browser history” Fishbein noted.
“Laverde is but one of many librarians who participate in this conspiracy,” stresses Fishbein, whose national grassroots organization “has received numerous taunting emails from librarians who share their twisted mentality.” One such example reads “thank you so much for the most comprehensive list of school aged books about race, gender sexuality and ACAB I could find. I’m a school librarian and now I know exactly which books to buy for us. It’s so useful!” (ACAB stands for All Cops are Bastards). The above mentioned comprehensive list, refers to No Left Turn in Education’s list of books for parents to look out for, books that “indoctrinate kids to a dangerous ideology and place obscene, pornographic material in the hands of children – books such as Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe which features an illustration of oral sex, or Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy, which graphically describes oral sex between a young boy and an adult.

“This is the greatest crime that my generation is committing on the next” asserted Mandel, “the loss of innocence that can never be be given back.”

“The danger of indoctrination is real” warns Fishbein, “this is a war. and we are saying to parents that you have to fight for the future of your children – there is no more important hill worth dying on.”

About the Author
Hannah is a London based journalist covering culture and current affairs. She writes about photography, film and TV for outlets in the UK and US, and covers current affairs with particular interest in the Jewish world. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and photographer. Her films were screened in festivals worldwide and parts of her documentary about Holocaust survivor Leon Greenman were screened on the BBC.