Article Lead Image

Amanda Moore

Here’s what happens when Kirk Cameron, Jack Posobiec, Sean Spicer, and Libs of TikTok read to children

Drag story time goes business casual.


Amanda Moore


Posted on Mar 30, 2023   Updated on Apr 4, 2023, 9:35 am CDT

“Our forefathers and foremothers told us that we would lose our freedoms one day if we got away from the principles that made us so unique in the world.” 

Former child actor turned career proselytizer Kirk Cameron looks down at the group of toddlers and elementary-aged children sitting on the ground around him. “Are we there yet today? Are we losing our freedoms, are we losing our way?” 

The children sit in silence. 

Nevertheless, Cameron assures the kids that Americans can “find our way” again by seeking guidance from a monument in Massachusetts. Clutching a replica of the National Monument to the Forefathers, he explains the symbolism. “This is Faith … she’s pointing to God in Heaven, and she’s holding a Bible in her hand…”

Welcome to conservative story hour, kids. 

Hosted by publisher BRAVE Books, Brave Story Hour was held on Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.’s Cleveland Park Library. 

D.C. seems like an odd choice for a right-wing reactionary story hour; after all, how many truly local parents would want to pull their kids out of school to listen to Kirk Cameron read a book? Perhaps the organizers hoped protesters would cause a scene—but no protesters ever showed up inside.

While the library itself considered canceling the event, it ultimately decided against it, since the event did not break any of the D.C. Public Library’s rules. But directly outside of the meeting room assigned to BRAVE was a display of books about gay and trans youth. 

Pride flags and rainbows covered the shelves, with a sign that said “Cleveland Park Library celebrates ALL sexual orientations.” Trans flags were hung in the windows of the library, visible inside and outside.

The display, a librarian told me, had been set up the night before.

Many of BRAVE’s authors are conservative influencers who work, according to a source, with a team of writers and illustrators to create a storyline tailored to their favorite reactionary issue. Most of these books take place in the same fictional universe, centered around a place called Freedom Island. This event featured four of BRAVE’s most prominent authors: Kirk Cameron, Jack Posobiec, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and Libs of TikTok’s Chaya Raichik. 

Story hour was scheduled to begin at 10:30am, but started half an hour late. We were told that the delay was because “a lot of people are trying to find a place to park.” But if “a lot of people” showed up, they all must have sat far in the back. By one reporter’s count, Brave Story Hour ultimately drew a crowd of roughly 20 children and 25 adults (most of whom appeared to be there without children).

Of course, Brave Story Hour isn’t really for kids, it’s for reactionary parents who are outraged by Drag Story Hour. Drag Story Hour features charismatic drag queens in bright, fun clothing. They read books that children are familiar with, and treat it like a performance. Meanwhile, Brave Story Hour has niche books with plots that are nothing more than thin analogies for the adults’ culture war. It has low energy conservative influencers, dressed in business casual outfits, awkwardly reading (and explaining) their own stories off of PowerPoint presentations projected onto the wall behind them.

The first book was The Island of Free Ice Cream by Jack Posobiec, who was a heavy promoter of the false 2016 Pizzagate conspiracy about Comet Ping Pong (the Cleveland Park Library sits less than two miles from Comet Ping Pong). The bad guys were wolves, though Posobiec made sure to ad lib “and communists” during his reading. In the story, wolves (and communists) try to entice other animals to move to the wolves’ island with the promise of free ice cream. Instead, the wolves (and communists) throw the other animals in jail. There is a happy ending though—the main character goes on to defend his friends from “lying wolves, communists, and other evil creatures.”

Despite his cutesy commentary for the adults, Posobiec sat on the floor with the kids to read his book. He made some fun sound effects, and consistently used a variety of voices. The “communist” ad lib may have induced eye rolls, but at least he was interesting to listen to. 

Unfortunately, the performance quality peaked with Posobiec.

Kirk Cameron’s As You Grow featured many fun concepts for small children, including lines like “sometimes love hurts” and “as you grow, you will know sorrow” (many of the children, who appeared to be under five years old, did not know what “sorrow” meant). 

“Sometimes you will be sad, sometimes you will be scared,” Cameron told the children. He asked if any of the kids had ever felt fear or sadness before because of something bad. When some said yes, he asked one little girl to describe the bad thing that had happened to her. He then told the kids more people probably would have joined them at the library, but they feared the potential protesters.

For some reason, Cameron decided to end his story time slot with his lecture on the National Monument to the Forefathers. 

Perhaps the “book as a slideshow presentation” format of the story hour caused him to forget he was at an event for children and not guest lecturing at a community college.

“If you were to stand in front of the real monument, you would come up to this high,” Cameron gestured to a spot on his replica monument. “That’s how big a six-foot person is.”

Though his speech was presumably for the kids, none of the toddlers present appeared to be anywhere near six feet tall. 

For five minutes, Cameron went on about aligning man’s laws with God’s laws and overthrowing tyranny. A bored toddler sobbed cranky, frustrated tears. The adults in the room applauded his spiel.

Things were going to get worse.

Up next was Chaya Raichik’s No More Secrets, the bleakest part of the morning. Raichik has made a living off of whipping up hatred against trans people, so it was no surprise that her book was blatant anti-trans propaganda. In it, a classroom of sheep has a teacher who is secretly a wolf. The wolf tells the students they can eat all the sweets they want, they just have to keep it a secret from their parents. He promises his classroom is a “safe space” and that their secrets won’t leave the room. The sweets are a clear parallel to discussing gender identity and sexuality in classrooms—as right-wing parents have been whipped up into a frenzy about teachers keeping student conversations confidential. 

The book stresses the importance of never keeping secrets from your parents—always let them know if your teacher does something like give you a cupcake, or acknowledge that trans people exist. 

The messaging was bad enough, but Raichik’s presentation of it left the impression she has never talked to a child before. At one point, after reading a sentence about saving a cupcake for later, she turned to consult the six-year-old sitting on the ground behind her. “That’s very reasonable, right?” 

Though each page only had a handful of sentences, she stumbled her way through them.

Then came Sean Spicer. The Parrots Go Bananas! had a fairly incoherent plot that revolved around a bully falsely accusing a pair of animals of being cheaters (fake news!). The good guys come out ahead when the other animals in the community realize they were framed. “We jumped to a conclusion. We didn’t even know all the facts,” the townscritters apologized.

After it was over, Spicer, who was roundly mocked for his lies during his tenure as former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, rehashed the lessons he wanted the children to learn from him. 

“Maybe we shouldn’t rush to judgment, because that doesn’t make people feel good … maybe we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, and maybe not try to do things that are going to make people feel bad or potentially try to hurt themselves.”

It was unclear if Spicer was still talking about the fictional animals featured in his story, or if he had moved on to his own failed Dancing with the Stars redemption arc. 

“You guys have any questions?” 

The preschoolers in the audience stared at him in silence.

Cameron closed the event with a short pep talk, saying the country is at a tipping point. “There are rumblings of reformation and revival happening all over our country,” he said, which apparently BRAVE books will help bring about.

If you want in, its books are available online for $22.99 each, plus shipping 

But for those wishing to take them home for free, the D.C Public Library does not keep any of them in stock.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Mar 30, 2023, 8:34 am CDT