I read Rep. Anna Paulina Luna's children's book based on the 2020 election. It suggests Joe Biden's election victory wasn't legitimate and underscores that election denialism is never really going away.

  • Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna recently wrote a children's book based on the 2020 election.

  • In "The Legend of Naranja," a Biden-like banana cheats in a race against a Trump-like orange.

  • It's yet another sign that 2020 election denialism is never really going away.

If you've still got some doubts about the 2020 presidential election — and you want to pass those doubts on to your young child — then Rep. Anna Paulina Luna has written the perfect children's book for you.

In late October, the Florida Republican released "The Legend of Naranja," which she co-wrote with her husband, Andrew Gamberzky. The book was released just weeks after she became the 12th member of Congress to give birth while in office.

Since Luna's election to Congress last year, she's gained notoriety for being among the Republicans who initially refused to support Kevin McCarthy for speaker in January, for leading the effort to censure Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, and for pushing for the creation of a select committee to investigate UFOs.

Based "loosely" on the 2020 election, Luna's book tells the story of an epic foot race between Señor Banana and Naranja to become the next president of "Fruitland," a fictitious island populated by various fruits.

Naranja is an orange that looks a whole lot like former President Donald Trump, while Señor Banana is an analogue for President Joe Biden — down to his propensity to sniff peoples' hair, as the banana does with a small strawberry on one of the first pages of the book, and his use of the phrase "come on, man!"

"You know, the left always likes to come up with nicknames, and they try to say that Trump was 'orange man bad,' all that stuff," Luna said of the "Naranja" character in a recent appearance on the Sara Carter Podcast. "What I realized is when you take that power away from them, and you spin it, you can really capitalize on sharing that message in a positive way."

Spoiler alert: the orange ultimately does not win the race, just as Trump did not win the 2020 election.

Señor Banana, the character based on Joe Biden, sniffing another fruit from behind.
Señor Banana, the character based on Joe Biden, sniffing another fruit from behind.Brave Books

But Luna — a member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus who has claimed that Trump actually won the 2020 election — writes the book in a manner in which the reader comes away seeing Naranja as the real winner, the more popular contender who definitely would've won the race if it weren't for the under-handed actions of his potassium-laden competition.

Specifically, the race begins with Señor Banana plotting a "scheme" and declaring there's "no way I'll ever let that big orange win," a plot that comes to fruition in the following 30-odd pages as the banana shoves his citric opponent from behind, violates the rules of the race by catapulting over a "Cherry Pit," and pushes another competitor in the race into a chocolate fondue river.

The climax of the book comes as Señor Banana bumps Lady Manzana — a becrowned green apple who's overseeing the race — out of her airship, leaving her hanging by a root at the edge of the cliff.

Firmly in the lead, Naranja selflessly turns around and rescues the apple, effectively giving an open for the banana to win the race — only to discover that no one cares, and that the orange is the real winner in everyone's hearts.

"We don't care who won today's race," the fruit, including a group of raisins depicted as veterans of "World Wine Two," declare on the book's final page. "In all our hearts, you've earned first place."

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna and her husband Andy Gamberzky, the co-authors of the “The Legend of Naranja.”
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna and her husband Andy Gamberzky, the co-authors of the “The Legend of Naranja.”Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

"In all our hearts, you've earned first place."

Sounds like a decent summation of how many Republican voters feel about Trump, doesn't it?

Ultimately, the book makes no mention of Dominion Voting machines, pandemic-era changes to election procedures, or Twitter's suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story — after all, it's for kids aged 4-12, according to the back cover.

But it tells a story that thematically aligns with the way conservatives continue to view the 2020 election, and will likely continue to do so due to the former president's lies — that the more popular, better-liked candidate lost the race only because of dirty tricks being played by his competitor.

"It's really, I think, an important lesson not just for kids to focus on doing the right thing, but also too it does have a lot of ties and implications as to what happened in 2020," Luna said during the recent podcast appearance. "I think it explains it in a way that kids can understand."

Despite earning the congresswoman at least $5,000 in advance royalties, per her financial disclosure, Luna's book appears unlikely to become a bestseller. It's currently ranked #277,007 on Amazon and took well over a week to arrive after its late October release date.

Nonetheless, it stands as a solid example of how lies about the 2020 election will be massaged, repackaged, and filtered down to the next generation over the coming years.

Correction: November 7, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misstated the publication month of the book. It was released in late October, not mid-September.

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