The starter version of the children’s book runs on conservative icons

A conservative children’s book start-up has begun publishing a series focusing on conservative icons and what it sees as childhood role models, including former President Reagan, actor John Wayne and social critic Thomas Sowell.

Why is this important: The books’ publisher, Heroes of Liberty, was created to counter many children’s books focused on progressive heroes like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to Heroes of Liberty editor-in-chief Bethany Mandel.

  • The effort to counterprogram these books comes as parents on the right — and some on the left — seek to ban books about race and gender amid culture wars seeping into school districts across the country.

Driving the news: Heroes of Liberty recently published a book about Wayne aimed at children aged 7-12. This followed the publication of books on Reagan, Sowell and new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

  • It plans additional posts each month on figures such as Douglas MacArthur and former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.
  • The Delaware-based startup is funded by private investors, including Miami businessman Yoni Greenwald and Israeli publisher Rotem Sella. Both serve on the board of Heroes of Liberty.

Mandel, a former Heritage Foundation writer, told Axios that the publishing house chose to tell Wayne’s story to counter the narrative that “masculinity is toxic.”

  • Wayne was known for playing tough cowboys during Hollywood’s Golden Age of Westerns, as well as his wartime roles and anti-Communist, conservative politics.
  • “Boys are…kind of conditioned to behave more like women. We wanted to give, especially to male readers, a glimpse of a positive male role model (who) doesn’t apologize for being manly and male.”
  • Heroes of Liberty sells books through monthly subscriptions. It has sold tens of thousands of copies since November, Mandel said.

Between the lines: School districts across the country are bowing to pressure from some conservative groups to revise — and then purge from public school libraries — books about LGBTQ issues or people of color or that are deemed to advance critical race theory.

  • The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom reports that preliminary data showed book challenges and bans increased in 2021, compared to previous years.
  • Mandel said she hoped her books would sit alongside others promoted by some progressives, but agreed that “inappropriate” books should be removed from schools.

Do not forget : Some progressive activists have sought to remove literary curricula like Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” from school curricula.

  • These critics argue that in the current context, they perpetuate racist or sexist constructs.

Rollback: An advertising account linked to Heroes of Liberty was temporarily banned by Facebook last month for violating Meta’s policy on “low quality or disruptive content”.

  • The account was reinstated following an outcry on social media.
  • Meta spokesman Andy Stone said the account was locked due to an “error”, according to the New York Post.
  • “When Facebook closed our account, we lost all of the data that we had carefully collected over the past six months,” Mandel said. tweeted after the incident.