- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2023

Another enthusiastic crowd packed a public library to see Kirk Cameron read his Christian-themed children’s book, only this time he wasn’t the only draw.

The Christian actor and author was joined Thursday by country singer Coffey Anderson, who led hundreds of children and parents in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Live Oak Public Libraries in Savannah, Georgia, the latest stop in Mr. Cameron’s anti-“woke” book tour.

“Coffey heard about the story, and when he heard we were opening the tour up for others to join, he said, ‘I’m in,’” Mr. Cameron told The Washington Times. “He wanted to be a part of it.”

Mr. Anderson also sang “America the Beautiful” and his hit song “Mr. Red, White and Blue,” while Mr. Cameron read his book “As You Grow” at back-to-back story hours to accommodate the large audience, which Brave Books estimated at more than 500 people.

The event marks the next step in the progression of the Brave Books library road trip. Instead of reading his book alone, Mr. Cameron is reaching out to like-minded entertainers, athletes and political figures to stand up with him at public libraries nationwide.

“We’ve put out the word that we’ve got a 15-city tour that we are launching all across the nation, and we’re putting out invites for people to join us,” Mr. Cameron said. “It’s really exciting. The outcry from parents and grandparents and concerned citizens across the nation is louder now than it was when I first started this in December.”

Overflow crowds have turned out to see Mr. Cameron at libraries in Indianapolis, Scarsdale, New York, and Orange County, California, sparked by alarm over the growing popularity of library-sponsored drag queen story hours for children.

More than 50 libraries either ignored or declined requests to sponsor Mr. Cameron’s reading, prompting Brave Books to rent out public meeting rooms at the libraries for the events.

Brave Books reserved the Bull Street Library Auditorium for the reading, and there was no charge, said Brave Books chief of staff Zac Bell.

Live Oak put out a statement explaining that as a public forum, it had no choice but to approve Mr. Cameron’s request, and that “the use of a room by a group or organization does not indicate library approval or endorsement of the group, its policies or its activities.”

“This is a meeting room reservation and not a library program. It has not been promoted by Live Oak Public Libraries and does not appear on the library’s website or social media,” the library statement said.

The library reading was held on the same day as a burlesque and drag show at Club One in Savannah, prompting Mr. Cameron to ask in an Instagram post: “Which One Will You Choose?”

“People will have an opportunity to choose what kind of entertainment they want to see: Me and Coffey Anderson at a public library or the drag show at the club down the street,” Mr. Cameron said.

The drag show’s executive producer swung back by saying that the “I Will Always Love You/Night of 1000 Dolly’s” event was restricted to those 21 and older, and not open to children.

The show is also a fundraiser for a local animal rescue.

Kirk Cameron has decided to use our event to sensationalize his agenda,” Rita D’LaVane told WSAV-TV in Savannah. “Our event was not ever intended for an all-ages audience and is for adults only. We hope that anyone who is old enough to attend comes out to support our event and Renegade Paws Rescue.”

Mr. Cameron said that he plans to release another book next summer as part of Brave Books’ Freedom Island Saga.

“My book is one of many books in a whole series,” Mr. Cameron said. “They’re all connected with the same characters, and they’re all fighting to keep Freedom Island free. And Freedom Island is a real place. It’s actually the United States of America.”

The books are written by a host of well-known conservatives, including surfer Bethany Hamilton, Fox News Channel anchor Julie Banderas, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican.

“The United States is an island of freedom in a world of socialism and communism,” Mr. Cameron said, “and that’s why we need a new generation of young heroes who will rise up with faith and moral integrity and bravery to fight to keep Freedom Island free.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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