Make children's books great again
Asra Nomani, journalist and parent, testified on March 1 to the House Judiciary Committee on Critical Race Theory in education. She brought children's books such as Not My Idea to show how radical ideologies appear in kindergarten materials: "Whiteness is a bad deal... it always was," communicates this book to young minds. This is one of many books that dumb down decades-old fringe critical theories from academia to present to children as "real" history.
The debate over books in public-school libraries has become a political battleground. In progressive counties, school boards use this debate to intimidate parents. Mark Robinson, the lieutenant governor of North Carolina, just released a statement clarifying his arguments against books like Gender Queer and The 1619 Project. Unfortunately, the emphasis on diversity and inclusion in early literature pushes aside the children's books that we should be introducing to our most innocent.
Recently, I read a favorite book from my childhood — Petunia by Roger Duvosin — to a lower elementary class. The kids loved it. They talked excitedly afterward about the importance of reading. The message is powerful. Petunia is a silly goose (literally). She overhears a man talking about the importance of books. She finds a book and carries it with her, thinking she is now wise. She boldly shares her "wisdom" with fellow animals, of course causing more confusion than clarity. Despite her errant advice, she grows prouder and prouder, and her neck stretches longer and longer. Ultimately, she finds a box and tells the farm animals it is safe to open because it reads "Candies" when it actually reads "Danger Firecrackers." She is an expert — for, after all, she carries a book.
A large explosion ensues! Burned and injured animals lie scattered around the farm. "Petunia's pride and wisdom had exploded with the firecrackers," reads the book. The silly goose recognizes, "It was not enough to carry wisdom under my wing; I must put it in my mind and in my heart."
Social justice in K–12 education is the current box of firecrackers to the silly geese of the left. Social-justice ideologues think the box label reads "diversity," when the container holds Critical Race Theory, which will ultimately explode and burn us all. Look at social-justice celebrities, for example. Last fall, the media asked LeBron James about a book he was reading at a post-game press conference: The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Mr. James gave a generic answer that, to many, suggested he hadn't really read the book. He was merely carrying it under his wing while becoming prouder and prouder. Jason Whitlock commented, "Inauthenticity is my problem with LeBron. His headfirst dive into politics and social justice warrioring has made him as phony an athlete as we've ever seen. He's a full-blown politician willing to say and do anything to advance an agenda."
It isn't enough to carry books around, to posture pretentiously about social justice causes in front of cameras. Dangerous unanticipated events have resulted and will result that scar society. Petunia, the silly goose, learned this the hard way.
Unfortunately, not only are leftists indoctrinating children with racial incitement as Ms. Nomani testified, but they are erasing the books that teach us to put wisdom in our minds and hearts. Federal IDEA grant funds, specified for preschool children in North Carolina, funded a teacher training program based in Critical Race Theory. The training materials included how to teach children to question "norms based in whiteness." It also told teachers to "avoid commercial cartoon-based materials including animals." Teachers should use only authentic representations. No more learning about silly geese. Instead, our children will follow the path of an uninformed and inauthentic LeBron James. Will our social justice–oriented celebrities and ideologues ever learn the lessons that Petunia and her injured friends realized at great cost?
Only if we return books centered in morality, humility, and creativity to our most innocent will we overcome the critical theory movement.
Image: Dragonfly Books.