The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Heavy-Handed Political Tomes on Your Child’s Bookshelf

A young gils looks over a children’s book at a rally by former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Hillary Clinton during a stop in San Diego, Calif., May 4, 2016. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Responding to a sighting of The ABCs of AOC: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from A to Z, Noah Rothman predicts, “Children’s sections in libraries have not yet become a cultural crusade of the right, but it seems a matter of time. Hagiographic portraits of Democratic politicians and appointees from wall to wall.”

Perhaps your child’s school library has Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, which is different from Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted. Or maybe your child’s bedroom bookshelf has I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, or Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx. (Poor Elena Kagan. How come she doesn’t get a children’s book about her?) Don’t worry, Representative Ilhan Omar pops up in the forthcoming Muslim Girls Rise.

Back in 2016, I took a look at HarperCollins Children’s Books Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead, and found that (surprise!) the book got some pretty basic facts wrong in its desire to tell an inspiring story about Clinton — perhaps most glaringly declaring “the odds were against her” in her 2000 Senate race in New York. If other politically themed children’s offerings are similarly heavy-handed and rewrite history for the sake of a better story, conservatives will have good reason to complain.

It’s not hard to see why publishers churn out children’s books focused on popular political figures. Selling books is hard. (Ahem.) Writing a book about a political figure with a well-established fanbase is a safe bet; these books are probably bought by every diehard lefty with a young niece, convinced that the lavishly illustrated Brave Hillary and the Bad Orange Monster will inspire the toddler to dream of being secretary of state someday. It’s certainly easier than writing an original or good children’s book.

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