Children’s Books Are The New Weapons In The Culture Wars

The cover of Gender Queer and the author, Maia Kobabe. Photo by Tristan Crane

Warning! As you scroll down on this blog post, some highly offensive drawings are presented that many will find extremely distasteful. I included them to make a point about what is and isn’t acceptable in children’s literature in the 21st century. If you believe you will be offended and want to avoid that, do not read this article.

I’ve thought about writing this but initially decided not to. There are times when I can dig a little too deep into the controversial “culture wars” and figured I didn’t need the aggravation. However, this morning I read an article called
Roald Dahl books rewritten to remove language deemed offensive
. The sub-heading is:

Augustus Gloop now ‘enormous’ instead of ‘fat’, Mrs Twit no longer ‘ugly’ and Oompa Loompas are gender neutral


Apparently the publisher, Puffin Books, in their “infinite wisdom,” decided that Dahl’s writing contained too much “offensive” language. So they hired “sensitivity readers” to go through them and, as a result, are significantly editing them to remove “fat,” “ugly,” “beastly,” and so on.

At least they aren’t going to stop publishing them altogether as have Six books by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel).

That’s all bad enough, but it gets worse, much worse.

Perhaps you’ve heard or even seen the graphic novel Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe. It chronicles the author’s journey through eir’s (Kobabe uses Spivak pronouns and is listed as non-binary and asexual) gender identity and sexual orientation.

Because it’s a “memoir,” it is considered acceptable reading for middle school (ages 11 through 14 years) and high school (ages 15 through 17 years) children. Although supposedly only a few select images are more or less “over the top,” those images are startling. The book may or may not be in your child’s school library. The “banning” of Gender Queer is highly controversial and passionately debated at school board meetings (by parents, not the boards).

However, this being Idaho, I was stunned to find it in my local public library system. As you can see, it is quite popular with every single copy currently checked out (at least it is placed among the Adult Graphic Novels at some select libraries).

Screenshot from the internet

Here’s the single most offensive (my word) page in the book.

A page from Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel “Gender Queer”

Of course, the “memoir” has other questionable pages:

A page from Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel “Gender Queer”
masturbation 2
A page from Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel “Gender Queer”

I obtained a PDF from the organization Courage is a Habit which they had posted on twitter. It’s the source of these images. They bill themselves as providers of “Actionable tools & strategies for parents to defend their children from indoctrination in K-12.”

On the other hand, an article at Slate illustrates how this book is presented in a positive light, including an interview with the author/artist.

Now let’s pull this all together. Puffin Books has a number of Dahl’s children’s books rewritten to eliminate words like “fat” and “ugly”. Six children’s books written by Dr. Seuss are removed from publication because of supposed racist imagery. At least one book calling itself a memoir is carried in public libraries and progressives demand it be in school libraries because depicting one teen giving a blow job to another teen (using a sex toy) is considered appropriate for children as young as 11.

Let that sink in.

Now decide what you want your children and grandchildren to read and be exposed to.

I know part of the “pushback” will be that kids have access to all sorts of material via the internet, so restricting a book showing graphic sexual images of minors (how is “kiddie porn” defined again?) isn’t likely to ruffle their feathers.

Maybe parents need to be more responsible about how and when their children access the internet.

Another pushback point is that children who are gender questioning, non-binary, gay, and trans need to have access to material where they can see themselves and read about the processes they’re experiencing. They say its censorship, homophobia, and transphobia to ban these books from school libraries.

Parents, not schools, are the final deciders on what their children should and shouldn’t be exposed to. When my children were in Junior High, my wife and I spoke with the teacher beforehand when the topic of sex education was about to be brought up. The teacher gave us a presentation of what she planned to teach and we ultimately decided to allow our children to attend those sessions (we have the option of excusing them from those classes because, you know…parental rights).

However, I have heard time and again that teachers (the government) are better at making decisions for children than parents. I suppose this is based on social bias, with many teachers representing the pro-Gender Queer position. They tend to see at least some parents as backward, uneducated, repressive, and (heaven forbid) religious. Teachers are educated, progressive, forward-looking, and more likely to help (influence, indoctrinate) a child if they experience any sort of question about gender or sexuality at all.

I happen to believe that parents are more important than teachers both in a child’s life in general and in their education. Teachers come and go, but parents have a unique and life long relationship with their children. Yes, some parents are inadequate sometimes and occasionally parents are terrible (I used to investigate child abuse in Southern California in the 1990s, so I have some experience in this matter).

But believing that children should be raised by teachers is believing children should be raised by The State, and the government is an awful “parent.”

Reality for our children is being re-written by publishers, schools, entertainment, social media, and every other information source available to our kids. Ultimately, they are trying to “rewire” children to accept a “reality” that, in many ways, is anti-family, anti-parent, and anti-church. A highly biased perspective is being shoved down our children’s proverbial throats by a giant information machine that wants to create the next generation in their image. This is done, by and large, to satisfy the wants and needs of the adult actors on this stage.

An adult using a child to gratify their own adult needs is the short definition of child abuse.

As another example of how parents can get sucked into this and fail their children, here’s a video I found on twitter where a mother states “Her 10 year old identifies as a ‘pansexual’ & she will only take her kids to a library with LGBTQI books.”

Who “identified” the child, the ten year old or her Mom who really, really needs the attention?

Oh, I should say that in my own community that some 96 parents in an organization called “Concerned Citizens of Meridian” have petitioned to close down the entire public library system in Southern Idaho.

I love libraries. I think libraries are good. My wife and I took our kids to the public library when they were young and now we take our grandchildren. While the library may offer a handful of questionable items, I’ve never actually seen or heard anything I would deem harmful to children. In fact, chances are, they’ll never see or be aware of “Gender Queer” or anything like it.

Closing libraries isn’t the answer anymore than shutting down the internet is the answer. Sooner or later, children are going to be exposed to some of this. The world is too vast to shelter them from it, nor should we entirely (adjusting for their age and maturity level). We need to guard young kids against this stuff and we need to prepare older children to manage what they are being bombarded with on a daily basis.

Stay engaged with your kids. If you can, volunteer in their classrooms (that’s an option here in Idaho). Know what they are reading, seeing, hearing, and being taught. Be ready to counter what they’re being fed as “normal” and “right” and “justice.”

If you turn a blind eye, if you just assume that your children are receiving the same education as you did back in the day (I know that in Junior High and High School, there was no sexualized content available to students in school libraries). Pay attention. Otherwise, your children will become drones and minions of the will of society and The State. We need to build the next generation to fight back, to hold the line as far as morality is concerned.

The world is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” –Luke 18:8 (NASB)

Will he?

Oh, meanwhile, children in California, one of the more progressive states, are illiterate. I guess graphic novels might serve them, though.

Screenshot from twitter

Addendum 2-18-2023: I found the following graphic on twitter illustrating specific changes being made by Puffin Books. These aren’t to correct “offensive language.” These are “updates” to serve some sort of social justice agenda. When you read them, you’ll understand what I mean. It’s heinous.

Screenshot from twitter

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