A new 9/11 coloring book features terrorist trading cards.A year after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a coloring book company has published a new book for kids about terrorism. It's called "We Shall never Forget 9/11, Volume II: The True Faces of Evil-Terror" and, among the black-and-white outlines of memorials and military men, it features collectible trading cards with photos and information about terrorists around the world.
Related: Discussing 9/11 with your kids
"This is not the type of book that you would give to a pre-Kindergarten child, to put in his backpack and send him off to school," Wayne Bell, the publisher of St. Louis-based Big Coloring Books Inc., told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. (He is quick to point out that it's more of a "graphic coloring novel.") "This is a teaching and learning tool that's rated PG-13."
"A lot of people seem to think that there's a disconnect with the public in general when it comes to teaching children about terrorism and terrorist activity," Bells adds. "A lot of people want to be politically correct. It's just really difficult to deal with that subject sometimes."
Related: Is the Hunger Games a liberal movie, a conservative one, or both?
The 40-page book features black-and-white drawings of the branches of the U.S. military and outlined images of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, all ready and waiting be colored in. It also features photos of 9/11 crash sites, excerpts from a letter from Rep. Michele Bachman questioning the head of Homeland Security about the Muslim Brotherhood, and four full-color pull-out pages of glossy trading cards.
On the table of contents page kids are urged to "share the information in this book with your friends, neighbors, teachers, educators, religious leaders." They're also cautioned to get their parents' permission before taking the book to school "to share with friends."
It's the type of book that people have to judge by its content, not its cover, Bell explains.
"A lot of people simply love the book because it's not politically correct, and they're not teaching the history of terrorism in schools today," he says. "This book has nothing to do with the Muslim faith. It has nothing to do with Islam. It just so happens that a lot of the high-profile terrorists happen to be radical Islamic jihadists."
The trading card idea was inspired by the "Terrorist Attack" collectible cards issued by the Piedmont Candy Company in 1987, and by ones printed in Chicago and New York in 2002, Bell says.
"Why trading cards? It's kind of interesting," he says. "It's kind of like when the U.S. government made USA playing cards with terrorists on the playing cards, from the Ace of Spades down to the Deuce of Hearts. It's just another feature in the book that's pretty unique in that it explains terrorists and terrorism."
"It's unique in the fact that we try to name them and shame them, the actual faces of evil," he adds.
The 36 cards feature the 9/11 terrorists, but also include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and Unibomber Theodore Kaczynski, among others. On the backs are printed detailed information about each.
"We're giving people a teaching and learning tool," Bell says. "It's an unpleasant subject, make no mistake about it. A lot of people don't want to talk about it. They want to forget it. But we make it because a lot of people want to read about it and buy it."
"We represent our readers in the product," Bell says of Big Coloring Books Inc., which he founded in 1981. He says that his company owns more than 600 coloring book-related domain names, and isn't politically motivated. There are more than 100 different offerings in his online bookstore, including coloring books on non-political topics like butterflies and dinosaurs and activity books for several different religions, including Islam. The political books include coloring books about the Tea Party and The U.S. Constitution as well as ones celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama and the history of the 4th of July. His books are also available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
"We don't take a position on the books we publish. It would be very difficult for us to do that," Bells says. "We publish books based on readership, just like many publishers around the world."
"Our company is not on a soap box for anything, period. Zero," he adds. "We publish books that readers buy."
Also on Shine:
What do your kids know about nuclear attacks?
The Conservative Teen Magazine: Countering Liberal bias with Conservative bias
How do you talk to your teenagers about the tough stuff?