The publisher of a series of anti-terrorism coloring books for children is rereleasing them in the wake of the brutal execution of American journalists by Islamic militants.
The titles — "We Shall Never Forget 9/11: Kids' Book of Freedom" (price: $4.99) and "The True Faces of Evil Global Terrorism" ($6.99, includes trading cards) — are available through the website of Really Big Coloring Books, and include a complimentary supplement ("The Terror Update on Global Jihad") that addresses the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group responsible for the killings.
“These books tell the truth, they tell it often, and they tell the children,” Wayne Bell, founder of the St. Louis-based publisher, announced last week in a video message. “These are books that actually explain what’s going on today."
The company, which publishes plenty of noncontroversial titles (including "Princes & Butterflies," "Dinosaurs" and "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz Comic Coloring and Activity Book"), distributed copies of the updated anti-terrorism series to departments of education in all 50 states as well as the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., Bell said.
"We’re trying to educate the country on these animals, these brutal people, these terrible humans on the planet called ISIS," he continued.
According to the Daily Beast, one of the supplements on ISIL depicts a crucifixion (“This is what ISIS wants to bring to America and its people," the page reads); another shows the five Taliban detainees released in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (“Obama administration broke the law by freeing 5 Taliban terrorists,” it reads. “Back to the battlefield.”)
"These products are complicated and require adult supervision while addressing the murders of innocent Christian children, adults and also the annihilation of entire families," the company said in a press release. "'Brutal' is hardly the word for it. Savage, barbaric, and animalistic is a little bit more accurate. In an effort to explain and educate today's youth about this hardcore cultural subject, the terrorist must be discussed with open dialogue both inside the Islamic community, and in the global community as a whole."
Bell said he's received hate mail and death threats since the company started publishing coloring books from its so-called cultural event division.
"We recently even got a letter from the White House telling us they were not very happy with us teaching children the word 'terror,'" Bell said. (The letter appears to be an email from a White House staffer.)
And rights groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, have slammed the material as anti-Muslim propaganda. But Bell dismisses such criticism.
"This is not about the Islamic faith, this is not about Muslim people," he said. "This is about radical Islamic Muslim terrorist extremists, and we will not stop publishing these books."
He added: "We make these books because parents ask for them. If they didn't want them they wouldn't buy them."