- Established publishers have a monopoly on the book market, which allows them to push harmful ideology in children’s books, but Heroes of Liberty (HOL) provides a corrective alternative to the current offerings, HOL editor and board member Bethany Mandel told the DCNF.
- HOL markets itself as a “wholesome patriotic alternative” to parents who are “concerned with the increasingly leftist indoctrination and ‘wokeness’ that have taken over our educational institutions.”
- “The heroes or people that you want your kids to know about that aren’t approved by the liberal and woke elites, that are running children’s publishing out of New York City … there’s nothing,” Mandel told the DCNF. The people HOL is showcasing don’t have children’s books written about them “because they’re not woke,” she said.
A literary startup is leading the charge against “leftist indoctrination” through its recent publication of biographies featuring prominent American leaders for elementary-aged children, amid growing outrage among parents across the U.S. who are concerned about what their kids are being taught.
Established publishers have a monopoly on the book market, which allows them to push harmful ideology in children’s books, but Heroes of Liberty (HOL) provides a corrective alternative to the current offerings, HOL editor and board member Bethany Mandel told the DCNF.
HOL markets itself as a “wholesome patriotic alternative” to parents who are “concerned with the increasingly leftist indoctrination and ‘wokeness’ that have taken over our educational institutions,” according to an HOL press release.
HOL’s first three published works detail the lives of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Former President Ronald Reagan and economist Thomas Sowell and starting in 2022, HOL plans to publish a new book each month. In 2022, books about Actor John Wayne, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are scheduled to launch in February, March and April respectively.
Mandel said certain figures currently dominate the market, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who she said yielded 27 different children’s biographies in a Google search result.
“The heroes or people that you want your kids to know about that aren’t approved by the liberal and woke elites, that are running children’s publishing out of New York City … there’s nothing,” she told the DCNF. The people HOL is showcasing don’t have children’s books written about them “because they’re not woke,” she said.
Every single person has told me they [publishers] only want books with gender angles, and they’re even moving past the racial stuff,” Mandel told the DCNF. “Now they’re just like gender, gender, gender ideology, wall to wall.”
She has spoken with librarians, aspiring writers and agents, who all say publishers want books with an LGBTQ angle.
The “Heroes of Liberty” profiles are explained in a way that tells a story, but also provides a particular message for young children that they might not hear anywhere else to “impart sort of wisdom and lessons that kids need to hear now more than ever,” she said.
“It’s been remarkable that every single mental health professional who works with children and teens have all told me that the biggest mental health hurdle for young people is a fear of speaking their mind and a fear of offending someone in the process,” which leads to anxiety and depression, she told the DCNF.
So for example, HOL’s book about Rush Limbaugh emphasized the fact that the radio host rose to prominence in the media for speaking his mind, she said. Mandel read HOL’s book about Amy Coney Barrett to her 8-year-old daughter that she said teaches young girls an important lesson about motherhood that is usually not discussed in modern children’s literature.
“We own a lot of children’s books that tell her she can do it all,” Mandel said, referring to her daughter. “She can be a scientist, she can be a judge … but none of these children’s books also tell her she can also be a mother.”
Mandel said the shift in children’s publishing has been happening for the past 10 years, but has ramped up in the past three to five. Ten years ago, it was climate change, then it was about race and for the past three years it has been about gender, she said.
Librarians, in both school and public libraries have “massive purchasing power” and are all “woke,” so a market correction is “desperately needed,” which Mandel hopes HOL can accomplish. “It’s not going to happen within the publishing houses in New York. It’s going to have to be by a literary startup.”
HOL prioritized having good illustrations in its books, but has had trouble recruiting American illustrators, Mandel told the DCNF. The startup approached all the best illustrators in the country, who agreed to the job, until they found out the people they would illustrate and backed out.
“The thing that makes or breaks children’s books is illustrations,” Mandel said. “It wasn’t for lack of money, it was the fear of being canceled for being involved in a project like this. It’s self censorship.”
HOL has turned to illustrators from countries around the world, such as Africa and Bulgaria, because they had no success recruiting American illustrators.
“This is the problem with cancel culture, it’s not the books that they cancel as much, it’s the books that will never be,” Mandel said. “This project could only be because they used international illustrators … you have to have everyone involved be willing to be canceled.”
Parents across the country have been disturbed at what they have found in their children’s libraries, often calling for the removal of books that they believe depict pornographic, sexualized, sometimes pedophilic content.
A survey conducted by Heroes of Liberty and Rasmussen Reports, found that 52% of moderate and conservative parents and grandparents are afraid that their child or grandchild is being exposed to inappropriate material in their public school. Over half want the books their kids are reading to include more conservative values.
A majority of people surveyed want children’s books to be more patriotic, including 73% of Republicans, 40% of Democrats and 43% of respondents with no affiliation to a major party. (RELATED: Fairfax Public Schools Reinstates Pornographic Books As A Commitment To ‘Diverse Reading Materials’)
The survey of 774 conservative and moderate American parents and grandparents was conducted from Aug. 22-23, 2021 with a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.
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