It wasn’t all smooth sailing for actor-writer-producer Kirk Cameron this past week as he and his publisher planned another book-related event at a public library — all part of his effort to offer a “wholesome” alternative to the numerous “drag queen story hours” that have been held in public venues in America over the past few years.
Cameron’s stop on Saturday in Hendersonville, Tennessee, was scheduled to occur at the Hendersonville Public Library as part of his cross-country tour of public libraries.
The author of the recently published children’s book, “As You Grow,” which shares biblical wisdom with kids and families, is a committed Christian — and regularly relates his love of faith, love of family and love of country with others.
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However, as he headed to Tennessee this week along with others who were joining him there, his publisher, Brave Books, told Fox News Digital that it began receiving “pushback from the library.”
A spokesperson from Texas-based Brave Books told Fox News Digital this weekend, “A head official at Hendersonville Public Library has been pushing back against the story-hour event all week.”
The spokesperson added, “A head official realized this event was going to be much more than a typical story hour. Noticing guests like Missy Robertson [of ‘Duck Dynasty’ fame] and [women’s sports advocate] Riley Gaines” — both of whom had committed to joining Cameron at the event — “the official at the library reached out to us informing us that the story hour would not be happening on the 25th.”
Added Brave Books, “The official said he did not want a movement coming to his library.”
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The publisher, however, held steadfast — and insisted the event would occur as planned.
This past Wednesday, the library said on its Facebook page that the event had grown beyond the facility’s capacity — and instead, the event would move to a church.
A Hendersonville Public Library operations manager told the Hendersonville Standard on Wednesday, according to the local publication, that the library had not planned for such “a large-scale event.”
A Brave Books spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Saturday, “A head official at the library threatened to cancel the event … The official at the library tried to say that too many people would be coming, and the library couldn’t handle it. As soon as the library’s board of directors and the community heard this, they were against this decision and the library staff backed down.”
Brave Books also told Fox News Digital, “We were not sure what to expect when we arrived, but all we knew was that we were coming to the Hendersonville Public Library for this reading.”
“We are working hard to ensure they [Cameron and his guests] have the platform to read their books and citizens have a comfortable venue to participate.” — Hendersonville Public Library on Facebook
When Cameron and his team arrived at the library, said Brave Books, “we were greeted with open arms from the community.”
However, the spokesperson continued, “A head of the library and his staff treated us terribly, unfortunately.”
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Fox News Digital reached out to the library seeking comment.
On its Facebook page, the Hendersonville Public Library posted this message over the weekend to the general public: “Sumner County is excited to host Kirk Cameron and his guests at the Hendersonville Library. We are working hard to ensure they have the platform to read their books and citizens have a comfortable venue to participate.”
The statement also said, in part, “Please be patient with the space limitations and traffic.”
It said that its mayor, Mayor Jamie Clary, “is working with our Hendersonville Police to ensure traffic and logistical issues are addressed.”
It added, “We hope to see you there for the Pledge to our nation’s flag at 9:30 a.m.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Mayor Clary for comment.
“We are fighting for the hearts and minds of our children as well as our institutions like the library system.”
On the city’s website, Mayor Clary notes that his “family moved to Hendersonville in 1973, and I enjoyed exploring and growing up in this city. Seeing Hendersonville’s transformation and the opportunities it provides have given me focus on infrastructure, bringing more jobs to Hendersonville, and providing transparency for our constituents. My vision for our city,” the mayor added, “is to remain a faith-based, family community.”
Trent Talbot, CEO of Brave Books, told Fox News Digital in an emailed statement over the weekend, “A Hendersonville library director pushed back on our Freedom Island Tour event, calling it more than a story hour, a movement — and he’s right. This is a movement,” he added, “and we are fighting for the hearts and minds of our children as well as our institutions like the library system.”
Talbot added, “We will press on, but we need everyone’s help to keep going.”
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Zac Bell, Brave Books’ chief of staff, told Fox News Digital, “We have done five different Freedom Island Story Hours [in various cities] — and we have yet to encounter a library staff quite like Hendersonville’s staff. It was clear that they did not agree with Kirk’s message at the library and wanted nothing to do with it.”
On its social media pages, Brave Books often shares messages such as the one shown just below.
Added Bell of Brave Books, “Kirk is trying to teach children basic morals such as love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Missy Robertson and Riley Gaines along with any other guests added along the tour are also teaching basic morals and characteristics, such as the value of family or overcoming fear.”
He also said, “The only thing that polarizes this movement is the Left and people like the library staff. They don’t want this message to reach the communities and that’s why America’s culture is hurting and at risk.”
“The community … including hundreds of grateful families and gracious mayors and county commissioners, welcomed us with open arms.” — Kirk Cameron about Hendersonville, Tennessee
Kirk Cameron, in an emailed comment to Fox News Digital over the weekend, said, “At our stop in Hendersonville for the Freedom Island Tour, we received negative pushback” from the library.
He also said, “The community, however, including hundreds of grateful families and gracious mayors and county commissioners, welcomed us with open arms.”
“I was absolutely impressed with the speeches given, the love for our country and God! We all need more of this.”
Cameron added, “Many public institutions have been infiltrated with individuals who intentionally silence wholesome movements like ours — while families are crying out for a return to the faith-based virtue and American values that lead to our blessing and protection.”
A community member who attended the event on Saturday posted a message on the Hendersonville Public Library’s Facebook page: “This was a wonderful event. Thank you to Kirk Cameron and crew and to Hendersonville Public Library for making it happen!”
Another person wrote on the same forum, “We were here on vacation [in] Nashville. I looked up for other things to do, and I found this. This was the most amazing event — we attended with meaning.”
The person added, “I was absolutely impressed with the speeches given, the love for our country and God! We all need more of this.”
However, a different person wrote on the same Facebook page, “This is not awesome. Our library is supposed to be a safe open haven. I am so ashamed of Hendersonville at this time. I hope our community knows there are some that are open and affirming.”
Kirk Cameron’s next scheduled public library stop is in Houston, Texas, on March 4, 2023.
He will also be speaking in Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Colorado and other cities in the weeks and months ahead.