A St. Louis-based publishing company caused some controversy Thursday, after it re-released coloring books to educate children about Islamist terrorism to include pages on the evils of Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) and asked for educators to incorporate them into their curricula.
The coloring books, entitled "The True Faces of Global Evil Terrorism" and "We Shall Never Forget 9/11: Kids' Book of Freedom" made headlines several years ago for featuring what liberal activists claim is anti-Muslim propaganda, as well as prompting concerns over political messages in children's literature.
Both are published by Really Big Coloring Books, a company which also publishes dozens of "typical" children's books on educational topics such as nature and dinosaurs.
But now, a supplementary update, entitled "The Terror Update on Global Jihad," has been released - and features such topics as IS's brutal murders, US President Barack Obama's prisoner swap of top Taliban terrorists for captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing.
“These books tell the truth, they tell it often,” CEO Wayne Bell stated in a video released last week. “These are books that actually explain what’s going on today."
"We’re trying to educate the country on these animals, these brutal people, these terrible humans on the planet called ISIS," he continued.
Bell's company has tried on multiple occasions to introduce the coloring books into public school curricula, and even approached the Department of Education over the issue, he said in the video.
It is unlikely that they will be accepted, however, because of the violence involved.
“These pages are pretty dramatic,” Bell told The Daily Beast shortly after the re-release was announced. “There’s one that shows the crucifixion of some of the Christians [by ISIS]…It comes with definite warning…These books are not for the backpacks of kindergarten children. They are made for children, but with adult supervision.”
Several of the pages have captions which could scare younger readers as well, including "what will you do when IS comes for you?"
A widespread debate over how to tackle the topics of IS, as well as homegrown terrorism, have emerged after the organization's wing in Syria killed Jewish-American journalist and Israeli citizen Steve Sotloff in a brutal decapitation taped for the Western world to see.
The tape not only vows death on another journalist - British civilian David Haines - but also threatens the US over its action against the terrorists.
The incident has sparked a worldwide scramble to suppress terrorism in Syria and Iraq, where IS has been taking large swaths of land over the past several months and committing genocide against thousands of ethnic minorities.