The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh has written a children’s book targeting radical transgender ideology, and it almost broke the Internet.
Well, not really. But it did hit number 1 and then sell out on Amazon within a matter of hours, though you can still reserve your copy here. Johnny the Walrus details the story of a young boy with a fanciful imagination who pretends to be a number of things, including, one day, a walrus. His mother recognizes that he is still just a boy, but is pressured by her friends to “transition” him into living as a walrus. As one can imagine, this doesn’t work so well, and the book serves as a powerful (and, according to Tucker Carlson, hilarious) antidote to the dozens if not hundreds of pro-gender ideology children’s books now on the market.
The wild success of Johnny the Walrus should be a lesson to publishers and booksellers alike that there is indeed a large market for children’s books with more conservative or wholesome messages. Not everyone wants their children reading Heather Has Two Mommies or I Am Jazz. As a mother of four, I’ve read my fair share of both really good and really awful children’s books, and I’ve compiled a short list of books I believe to be worth reading for the conservative values they endorse. This is by no means a comprehensive list; it’s simply a list of things that both I and my children have enjoyed, with story lines that teach true character. It is organized into a list of ascending maturity level, with the first being more appropriate for very small children, and the latter for elementary or older.
1) Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram)
More than anything, children need to know they are loved and treasured by their parents, particularly in a world that preaches that family is whatever you make it. This story of a father’s love for his little bunny is distinct, for one, because it does focus on the father’s love, but also because it emphasizes that the father loves his son more than the son can ever, ever imagine. (It is also a good metaphor for Our Lord’s love for His children, which is truly unfathomable.)
2) Giraffes Can’t Dance (Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees)
In this fun story, Gerald the Giraffe doesn’t fit in at the jungle dance, because his long, lanky features make it difficult for him to dance well. “Giraffes can’t dance, you silly fool,” the animals tell him. But when Gerald creeps off, dejected and heartbroken, into the jungle, the cricket points him to the beauty of the moon and tells him to find his own music: “Sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different tune.” It’s a story of diversity, to be sure, but in the best possible sense. Gerald never stops being a giraffe. In fact, it is because he is a giraffe that he doesn’t quite fit in. Instead, he learns to dance to a new tune, and the other animals recognize the beauty of his dance.
3) Horton Hears a Who (Dr. Seuss)
This is one book that survived the Seuss estate’s decision earlier this year to pull a number of the famed children’s author’s works from circulation due to their “racist images.” The book tells the story of Horton, an elephant, who discovers a tiny, tiny population of “Who’s” living on a clover, and decides it is his job to save them. “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” is his rallying cry throughout. A number of pro-life groups have gone so far as to claim that Seuss himself had expressly pro-life intentions when he wrote the book. (At least one story circulating is that Seuss was actually criticizing the American occupation of Japan.) Whatever the author’s original intent, the book is a charming story of the value of each and every human life.
4) The Berenstain Bears books (Stan and Jan Berenstain)
This famous series holds a boatload of pro-family and positive life messages for small children. The Bear family learns about things like honesty, manners, politeness, neatness, moving, greed, and many, many others. What I particularly love about this series is that the life lessons generally come from the parents and the family.
5) Frog and Toad series (Arnold Lobel)
In addition to messages about family love, children need to hear stories about abiding friendship. Frog and Toad are such friends, and their adventures together make for excellent life lessons about how to maintain a true friendship. The books are also beautifully illustrated and written, with an expansive vocabulary sure to help expose little ones to new and lovely language.
Once again, this is not meant to be a comprehensive or perfect list—just some ideas. Tune in soon for the remaining five!