A Maryland school district that recently unveiled a LGBTQ-inclusive book list for its elementary schools has pushed back on several children’s books that ‘promote American values.’
Bethany Mandel, editor of the Heroes of Liberty book series, told Fox News that the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) recently declined to recommend three non-fiction books donated to the school.
Mandel said that she created the book series to give parents and educators an alternative to progressive literature which she believes is being ‘forced onto primary school children’ in the district.
‘In deep blue Montgomery County, the public schools will force primary schoolchildren to sit through books about gender and sexuality, but they won’t even accept a donation of books if a publisher prioritizes American values,’ Mandel said.
‘Parents are looking for ways to teach our values, teach our history and to sort of showcase what we believe through stories and through fantastic illustration.’
The move was slammed by some who took to social media calling for ‘this nonsense’ to be stopped ‘for the sake of our kids and this country.’
The editor of Heroes of Liberty book series, Bethany Mandel, said that the Montgomery County Public Schools declined to recommend her biographies
Mandel said that she created the book series to give parents and educators an alternative to progressive literature
One Facebook post said: ‘A book that MCPS has recommended for children in pre-kindergarten is ‘Pride Puppy,’ which teaches terms like ‘intersex,’ ‘drag king,’ ‘drag queen,’ PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN.’
Another read: ‘Will parents in Montgomery County stand up in protest? Nationwide, parents who push back on this kind of indoctrination are already being called bigots.’
The New York-based company donated three children’s books about libertarian economist Thomas Sowell, Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton for use in MCPS libraries and recommended for grades 2-6.
MCPS told Fox News Digital that the Heroes of Liberty books have not been excluded from the libraries and that ‘several schools have requested one or more of the liberty titles to receive as a donation to add to their library collection.’
But according to records obtained by Fox News on the school district’s Database of Accountable Evaluations (DAE), MCPS declined to recommend the biography ‘Thomas Sowell: A Self-Made Man’ on September 30.
The evaluation said that the ‘weakness of the Sowell book was that the publisher has a stated mission of creating books with American values that made this country great.’
An evaluation on the same day made about the biography ‘Amy Coney Barrett: A Justice and a mother’ also declined to recommend the book.
The evaluation stated because ‘the publisher seems to have an agenda – publishing books about people with ‘American values’ and that it ‘glosses over a lot of her life. The book is more about a message than an informative biography.’
She said that a ‘tidal wave of woke’ had ‘taken control’ of the publishing world and she had to go out of the United States to illustrate the series
In August, a MCPS presentation to staff showed a list of LGBTQ+ books to be provided to Pre-K through to fifth grade classrooms this year
A third evaluation on the 30th declined to recommend ‘Alexander Hamilton: From Immigrant Boy to Father’ because it ‘leaves out too much factual information about Hamilton’s life. The book is more about a message than an informative biography.’
Mandel said what is happening in classrooms ‘is a known issue’ but the publishing world was being driven by a ‘tidal wave of woke.’
‘People are a bit unfamiliar with what is going on in the children’s book publishing world in general it’s a tidal wave of woke, that’s what one of the librarians who contacted me said and this is the alternative,’ she said.
‘We wanted to teach our kids using books because that’s the best way to teach them.’
‘All these publishing houses are controlled by woke ideology and I’ve heard from people who are familiar with the query process that agents are only looking for LGBTQ books anything with an angle that is sort of gender focused.’
Mandel said when trying to get the books illustrated, she found the process near to impossible within the United States.
‘When we were illustrating these books we went to the top illustrators in North America and said we want to do books about Ronald Reagan, Thomas Sowell and Amy Coney Barrett and the illustrators were scared of cancel culture so we decided we are going to do it ourselves,’ she said.
‘We used illustrators from around the world instead.’
The three Heroes of Liberty books were approved only for ‘marginal’ use and MCPS told Fox News that schools can still request the books for use in their libraries.
‘They were evaluated and recommended as ‘marginal’ meaning schools can still get these titles, however, there could be more objective titles on the particular subject,’ the district said.
In contrast, the school district ‘highly recommended’ LGBTQ books like ‘Prince & Knight’ and ‘My Rainbow’ which explores sexuality and gender identity, the second title recommended as a classroom textbook.
‘This text could be used during whole group time or small group time during the [English language arts] block’ the evaluation stated.
When asked why promoting American values is viewed as a ‘weakness’ MCPS told Fox that ‘media specialists look for books that provide objective information on a variety of topics.’
‘It is important to know if a book is heavily influenced by a singular perspective,’ they said.
MCPS said that the Heroes of Liberty books have not been excluded from the libraries and ‘several schools have requested one or more’ titles from the series
The three Heroes of Liberty books were approved only for ‘marginal’ use and MCPS said that schools can still request the books for use in their libraries
‘This information is provided for guidance for any media specialist looking for books on a particular topic.
‘We want to reiterate MCPS’ policy to equity in choosing materials: ‘instructional materials are chosen to reflect the diversity of our global community, the aspirations, issues and achievements of women, persons with disabilities, persons from diverse, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, as well as persons of diverse gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.’
In August a MCPS presentation to staff showed a list of LGBTQ+ books to be provided to Pre-K through to fifth grade classrooms this year.
The presentation explained that the LGBTQ-inclusive reading list aims to ‘reduce stigmatization and marginalization of transgender and gender nonconforming students.’
The MCPS presentation about LGBTQ books provided several examples of potential complaints from parents and community members and how MCPS staff should respond.
MCPS previously stated that the LGBTQ readings are not mandatory and that they will not be scheduled for use until families are notified.
A sample response to parents who may ask to ‘opt out’ their children from reading the texts has asked educators to explain that the readings are about ‘diversity’ not anatomy.
‘During Family Health & Life, we are learning about scientific topics like biology, anatomy, puberty and reproduction,’ the response states.
‘In these picture books and discussions, students are learning about the diversity of identities that exist in the world and in our classroom; we are not getting into any of the scientific specifics.
‘This is similar to when we’re learning about different races, ethnicities and religions which are other social identities commonly talked about in school.
‘All children and their families deserve to see themselves and their families positively represented in our school community.’
If a parent asks whether they can keep their child home during the LGBTQ readings, MCPS faculty are advised to explain that no effort will be made to persuade a child from holding certain beliefs.
‘While there are no planned, explicit lessons related to gender and sexuality, students will see these identities embedded throughout,’ the sample response states.
‘For students for whom some of these identities are new, questions and conversations might organically happen.
‘Inclusive curricula support a student’s ability to empathize, connect, and collaborate with a diverse group of peers, and encourage respect for all.
‘No child who does not agree with or understand another student’s, gender, identity or expression, or their sexuality identity is asked to change how they feel about it.’