Meghan Cox Gurdon of the Wall Street Journal has a wonderful review of the new children’s book “Kamala Harris”: (By Maria Isabel, 32 pages, $15.99).
The publishing industry never tires of promoting the lives of progressive exemplars. They are valorized for their activism, nobility or trailblazing identities and often depicted with upraised fists or at protest marches. Toddlers make their acquaintance in board books and meet them again later in illustrated chapter books and graphic novels. The shelves of bookstores, libraries and schools positively groan with their virtue.
“Kamala Harris,” illustrated by Lauren Semmer, captures the prevailing wind. “Kamala’s mother raised her and her sister Maya to be young, gifted Black women,” the author writes. We see Ms. Harris as an adult in a courtroom, her protective arm around a young black male and her accusing finger pointing toward a scowling white one: “It was her duty to make sure that everybody, especially the most vulnerable, was protected by justice.” In a later scene, President Biden and Vice President Harris are shown riding on a tandem bike, wearing face masks and being chased by happy multiracial children in rainbow-colored clothes. As Dave Barry used to say, I am not making this up.
Again, the problem is not that such books exist. The problem is that conservatives and even centrists are being written out of the human story as told to children. Juvenile biographies present a distorted portrait of human accomplishment and a scanty, unhealthy menu of ideas. It is galling that children are encouraged to think that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor are pioneers for being female and sitting on the Supreme Court while being kept in quiet ignorance that the real pioneer was Sandra Day O’Connor—a Republican woman appointed by a Republican president.