LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) — A reading event called ‘Brave Book Story Hour” was held in Ludlow on Saturday, sparking local conversation on an ongoing nation-wide controversy over children’s reading topics. People on both sides of the issue were able to voice their beliefs on the subject.

People across the country participated in ‘See You at the Library’ events on Saturday. These gatherings were created by Christian actor Kirk Cameron and his faith-based book publisher, Brave Books, as a “national movement for free speech.”

In Ludlow, a version of a ‘Brave Book Story Hour’ featuring reading, singing, and praying was held at the Ludlow Gazebo. The event was met with some opposition, some protesting the messaging as particularly concerning among the LGBTQ+ community, though organizers emphasized its focus on God and Country.

“Some of the books by Brave Books are like ‘Elephants are not Birds’ which is written by a very anti-trans person named Ashley Sinclair,” expressed Ludlow resident Mia Alves, “It’s very, very not concealed messaging about anti-trans, anti-teachers. That teachers are grooming kids or that teachers are indoctrinating our children, and we just don’t buy into that.”

Pete Chelte, a parent of a Ludlow School Student told 22News, “It should be more inclusive. It seemed to be those same organizers were the people that were doing the book-banning and stuff, and it just seems they’re really trying hard to shut out minority groups in the community.”

When asked if this particular ‘Brave Book’ event included any reading materials purporting messages of LGBTQ+ indoctrination concerns, ‘Brave Book Story Hour’ Organizer Grace Burek said it did not, “There is nothing anti-LGBTQ, nothing anti-anything involved with the stories that we’ll be reading today.”

The book-reading and opposing demonstration remained peaceful with each side adamantly defending their beliefs.

“It seems lately that if you are a believer in God and country that you’re sending a message of hate, and that’s not what this event was about at all,” expressed Ludlow resident Lisa Saloio.

Alves added, “You have every right to your religion, and every right to express it the way you want to, however we don’t want the message to be that Ludlow as a whole, as a community, believes anything like that about their teachers.”

Kaelee Collins is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kaelee on X @kaelee_collins and view her bio to see more of her work.