As the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 approaches, many publishers are putting out commemorative editions as a way of memorializing that terrible day. One such book is drawing more controversy than the others. We Shall Never Forget 9/11: A Kids’ Book of Freedom is a colouring book published by Really Big Coloring Books, Inc., the same company that released a Tea Party colouring book last year.
According to Bruce Felps, a blogger for NBC, the book “looks to be intended for kids about 6, 7, 8 years old,” and includes drawings of the smoking towers and a Navy SEAL firing a bullet at Osama Bin Laden, who is pictured cowering behind his wife.
Talking Points Memo quotes Really Big Coloring Books’ publisher Wayne Bell as saying the book is “basically a representation of what happened” on 9/11, and is “not degrading or anything like that.” About the image of the SEAL firing on Bin Laden, Bell tells TPM that the response has been largely positive.
Parents tell him that when they show their kids that image, they understand that “we got him.”
“If you bomb our country, America will chase you ’til the very end,” [Bell] said. “That’s what it shows.”
While the subject matter certainly carries an emotional charge, Bell insists it’s not ideological. Bell described himself as a “very liberal” guy, and his company has published all types of books: an Obama coloring book, a dinosaurs coloring book and many books in Spanish.
The claim that the book is not ideological may be somewhat disingenuous. Felps points out that one page shows a TV reporter in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, already claiming Bin Laden was responsible:
That page includes the line, “These attacks will change the way America deals with and views the Islamic and Muslim people around the world.” Shouldn’t that be “extremist Islamic terrorists” and not the religion and its adherents as a whole?