What would you do if you were an attention-starved, far-right Republican politician who wanted to show your absolute and total fealty to Donald Trump and his obsession with denying that he lost the 2020 presidential election? Rep. Anna Paulina Luna came up with a unique answer: She and her husband co-authored a children’s picture book suggesting that Trump lost because President Joe Biden cheated. If that sounds like something so ludicrous that the only way to get such a book out would be to self-publish it, think again. Luna and Andrew Gamberzky’s book, “The Legend of Naranja,” was released by the far-right children’s publisher BRAVE Books.
The 2020 election parable aspect of “The Legend of Naranja” is not thinly veiled. Check out the look of the main character:
According to the description on the book’s website (where you can get a hardcover for $19.99 or a signed copy for $39.99):
All the fruit in Fruitland are excited for the big race that will determine their next leader. Naranja is the crowd favorite, but Señor Banana has some tricks up his peel. Who will squeeze the day and become the next leader of Fruitland?
Insider’s Bryan Metzger got his hands on a copy of the book and offered more details: The Bidenesque banana cheats repeatedly during the race. Then:
The climax of the book comes as Señor Banana bumps Lady Manzana — a becrowned green apple who’s overseeing the race — out of her airship, leaving her hanging by a root at the edge of the cliff.
Firmly in the lead, Naranja selflessly turns around and rescues the apple, effectively giving an open for the banana to win the race — only to discover that no one cares, and that the orange is the real winner in everyone’s hearts.
Considering that Trump lost the popular vote twice, the second time by 7 million votes, and that he is currently under federal and state indictment for efforts to overturn the election result (i.e., cheat), this is brazen nonsense. But while it’s significant that a member of Congress (from Florida, natch) is pushing this story, the publisher is particularly interesting.
BRAVE Books is an effort to set up a far-right competitor to Scholastic, offering “Faith-based children’s books that bring families together,” in many cases authored by washed-up actors like Kirk Cameron and Kevin Sorbo. Or members of Congress like Luna. BRAVE Books also offers “A monthly subscription that helps you teach your kids or grandkids timeless lessons through engaging and easy-to-read stories on difficult subjects like sanctity of life and the importance of following rules.” Election denial is apparently a “difficult subject,” too.
BRAVE Books is frequently promoted by Moms for Liberty, the bigoted book-banning powerhouse described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-government organization spreading “messages of anti-inclusion and hate.” Last summer, Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and fellow Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy spoke at the group’s conference. Haley did a Moms for Liberty town hall event in New Hampshire in September. DeSantis appointed one of the group’s co-founders to a state ethics commission.
This publisher has deep ties to Moms for Liberty, which has its own deep ties to the Republican Party and its most prominent politicians. Luna’s book, as much as it is one thirsty politician’s effort to suck up to Trump, is more than that when you look at the context. Election denial remains not just an article of faith for Republicans, but something to actively teach to kids who don’t remember 2020—if they were even alive then.