LOS ANGELES – It’s a publishing first.

In his new kids’ book, “Joey Gonzalez, Great American,” author Tony Robles takes on one of today’s most polarizing issues – affirmative action.

Using words and pictures that kids can easily understand, “Joey Gonzalez” shows how government programs designed to “help” children are often the ones that do the most harm.

In fact, the idea for “Joey Gonzalez” came about because of the author’s own educational experience – one based on merit, not race.

“I attended Boys’ High School in New York in the ’60s,” says Tony Robles. “Even though the students were primarily minority and low-income, we were held to strict academic standards. The principal and staff were committed to helping us succeed by showing us that we could compete with anyone.”

It was this strong foundation in part that led to Robles’ successful career in law enforcement.

In today’s schools, however, competition has become a dirty word, he says. Affirmative action is a policy, says Robles, that pits kids against each other in all the wrong ways. Instead of being challenged and prepared to compete in the real world, Robles contends that “minority kids learn early on that they will never get the credit they deserve for working hard and trying to succeed on their own.” At the same time, other children resent the preferred treatment that their minority classmates receive, and end up resenting them.

In fact, the sorry state of American education is what led Tony Robles to write “Joey Gonzalez.” Instead of perpetuating feelings of inferiority and anger, “Joey” challenges the affirmative action mindset using strong and positive imagery.

“By following Joey’s adventures, kids get an alternative perspective to the dependency that affirmative action breeds, whether they’re black, white or Hispanic,” Robles asserts. “The book’s goal is to encourage not just ethnic pride, but national and personal pride. Through showing the virtues of self-reliance, ‘Joey’ helps kids reject the idea that certain people need special preferences simply because they are black or Hispanic.”

“Beautifully illustrated by Jim Pryor, and translated into both English and Spanish, ‘Joey Gonzalez: Great American’ will be treasured by every parent confident that their child is capable of more than teachers say they are, and by every kid who aspires to be great,” says Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND and the founder of WND Books, which is publishing its first children’s title.

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