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Rachel Campos-Duffy: Fight back against wokeism and build a ‘Freedom Library’ for your family

When I hosted “Fox News Primetime” on Fox News Channel last month I interviewed an amazing guest named Helen Raleigh. 

Raleigh grew up in China and wrote a very thoughtful piece in The Federalist after woke liberals decided to cancel Dr. Seuss. 

When Raleigh immigrated to the United States from China, one of the things she most loved about America was children’s literature. She loved how American children’s stories were full of optimism. They were fun and whimsical and encouraged children to dream and use their imagination. 

It was so different from the dark, ideologically Marxist children’s stories she was exposed to in communist China

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As a Chinese immigrant, Helen is deeply worried that political correctness, cancel culture, and the woke gatekeepers of America’s publishing world are cultivating the same propaganda literature of her Marxist homeland.

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic is that parents of all political persuasions across America are beginning to wake up to the indoctrination their children are being exposed to through their teachers, librarians, textbooks, cartoons, movies, and social media. 

The death of George Floyd suddenly made BLM Inc. mainstream and rich, and the organization wasted no time churning out school curricula as fast as they could. After all, progressive Saul Alinsky acolytes know to never let a crisis go to waste. But with schools shut down and children forced to Zoom from home, parents began to see the toxicity of critical race theory up close. 

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Frustrated and feeling helpless, parents finally started showing up at school board meetings and pulling their kids out of woke schools that were teaching them to hate their country, each other, and if they are white, themselves.

This is all good. But as parents focus on their schools and the usual Hollywood and Big Tech suspects, the gatekeepers of America’s children’s literature – publishers, editors, and big box bookstores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble — fly under the radar. 

They decide what gets published, cancelled, or “suggested” to you when you are shopping for children’s books online. 

Only liberal authors who meet the narrow woke definition of diversity are published or promoted. For them, “inclusion,” ironically, does not include authors who don’t agree with their politics or world view, particularly about America. 

It is no coincidence that racial huckster Ibrahim Kendi’s books “Antiracist Baby” and Chelsea Clinton’s “She Persisted” are displayed prominently at your local bookstore’s children’s lit section. 

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Vice President Kamala Harris’ ode to herself, “Superheroes are Everywhere” even wound up in children’s detention centers at our southern border. No journalist has bothered to figure out how or who paid for them to be distributed to children who endured enough trauma crossing the desert and the Rio Grande. 

It’s even more rich considering Harris has paid zero attention to these children, their tragic journeys and the entire human rights crisis at the border that she helped create and was assigned to fix. 

I had first-hand experience with the woke curators of what our children read when I wrote my first children’s book, “Paloma Wants to Be Lady Freedom,” a story about a little Hispanic girl who falls in love with the beautiful statue on top of the U.S. Capitol. 

My agent garnered early interest in my book from two prominent publishing houses. However, it was clear from the start that the editors struggled with the story’s patriotic message. Then came the unexpected election of Donald Trump in November of 2016. Not long after the election, one of the editors ghosted us. 

After Trump’s January inauguration and the subsequent “Women’s March,” the other publisher sent my agent a letter saying “I should have seen this sooner, but I think the way that things have unfolded in our nation over the past two months is part of what helped me see this. I am looking for something much more substantive and profound, something that goes beyond just blanket-patriotic notions of ‘freedom.’ I’m not sure kids really understand what that means. Just saying other countries are ‘not’ free and we “are” is an oversimplified message that doesn’t make sense to me in the complex state of the world today. We will be leaving this nation in our children’s hands, and it is not too early to start educating them in a substantive way.”

Determined to get my book released, I turned to a conservative publishing house, Regnery, who embraced my book and its message. While my book has flourished through my personal promotion of it on predominantly conservative platforms, the mainstream publishing world ignored it. 

Only liberal authors who meet the narrow woke definition of diversity are published or promoted. For them, “inclusion,” ironically, does not include authors who don’t agree with their politics or world view, particularly about America. 

Books with traditional or conservative messages are deliberately excluded. Most troubling is that today, in the name of racial and historical “sensitivity,” books that are culturally important to America, ones that once shaped our children’s minds, such as “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Dr. Seuss are being cancelled and outright banned. 

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It’s all part of the radical left’s cultural revolution to break the bonds – in this case literary bonds – that connect us to our past. Forgetting and banning our past reinforces the notion that our history is systemically racist and in need of remaking.

As an avid life-long collector of children’s books and a mom who loves to read to her own children, Raleigh’s answer to this disturbing trend resonated with me. 

More from Opinion

One solution, she explained, is to create your own “Freedom Library” at home. How do you start? “It’s easy!” says Raleigh. Start with all the books progressives want to ban. With America’s librarians and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos leading the charge in literary censorship, I suggest quickly purchasing those little treasures you grew up reading and loving quickly, before some make-work diversity “non-profit” decides “Treasure Island” or Nancy Drew are too offensive. 

During our “Primetime” interview, I asked Raleigh to give me her list of books for a freedom library. In addition, I have my own list to add to her essential children’s books that every parent or grandparent should introduce to the young, curious and impressionable minds in their lives. 

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Some have a liberty point of view, but others, like Dr. Seuss and Peter Pan, are just plain fun, and therefore also in danger of being cancelled by the humorless, politically correct censors of our time who see racism and sexism everywhere. 

Unfortunately, the tech gods (or maybe the CCP ha ha!) cut Raleigh’s interview with me short and the complete list never made it on the show. 

After the interview, hundreds of viewers wrote to me requesting I republish the list. As school ends and summer approaches, I can’t think of a better time to start a Freedom Library and get your kids and grandkids reading the beautiful classic books they won’t be assigned in school and that should never be subjected to the narrow-minded, neo-Marxist censors of our time.   

Helen’s List 

Children’s Literature

All books by Dr. Seuss

Classic Children’s literature by Hillsdale College

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis 

“Little House” books, Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Adventures of Tin Tin

Confucius Never Said (actually written by Helen)

The Theory of Moral SentimentsAdam Smith. Smith was cancelled in his hometown. 

Western Classics

Great books recommended by Hillsdale College

All books by Shakespeare

All books by Mark Twain

All books by Ayn Rand

Frank Dikötter’s A People’s History trilogy on the horrors of socialism in China

Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror  on Stalin’s brutal purge

Yang Jisheng’s Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine from 1958 – 1962.  I wrote a book review about it. 

Jack Fairweather’s The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz 

Tsering Woeser’s  Forbidden Memory: Tibet during the Cultural Revolution

All books by C.S. Lewis

Rachel’s List

Anything Dr. Seuss 

A Treasury of Children’s Literature, Armand Eisen 

The Little Red Hen 

The Nancy Drew Series, Carolyn Keene

The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

The Mad Scientist Club, Bertrand Brinley

Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett 

The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

Lord of the Flies, William Golding 

Olivia, Ian Falconer 

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendack

Johnny Termain, Esther Hoskins Forbes

Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White 

Heidi, Johanna Spyri 

Hatchet, Gary Paulsen

Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

Paul Bunyan, the Blue Ox and other Tall Tales

Paloma Wants to be Lady Freedom, Rachel Campos-Duffy

1984, George Orwell

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Curious George Classic Collection, H. A. Rey

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, Brian Kilmeade

Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls

The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall 

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Fredrick Douglass 

Will Wilder Series, Raymond Arroyo

Hermie, Max Lucado

Tiki Tiki Tembo, Arlene Mosel

Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Old Yeller, Fred Gipson 

The Dangerous Book For Boys, Conn Iggulden

The Daring Book For Girls, Andrea J Buchanan

The Odyssey, Homer 

The Call of the Wild, Jack London

My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho 

Chinese Girl in the Ghetto, Ying Ma

Animal Farm, George Orwell

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Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

The Rush Revere series, Rush Limbaugh

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