FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Hundreds of people filled the Fayetteville Public Library Friday for a book reading. It was part of Brave Books and Kirk Cameron’s “Freedom Island Tour”.

The event center at the Fayetteville Public Library was packed with families anxious to hear Cameron read his book, “As You Grow,” which teaches of Fruits of the Spirit as mentioned in the Bible.

Christy Rainier attended the Fayetteville reading with her kids.

“As soon as we get it [a Brave Books book] we have to read it right away. They [her kids] love it so much, and I just love that they’re excited about it. The art is great, and the books are positive and uplifting,” Rainier said.

Brave Books is a publishing company that offers book subscriptions. It promotes books with Christian messaging and values. Zach Bell, the chief of staff at Brave Books, said the United States was founded on Christian values and that immoral values have entered into society over the past few years.

The goal of the publishing company is to combat that.

“It’s a joy and a blessing to be able to do it and to actively fight and push back against the dangerous ideologies that are being pushed on the next generation,” Bell said.

The Freedom Island Tour was started with that same goal in mind. It was also created to provide an alternative to drag queen story times.

“The families in this country are hungry for wholesome content, and they’re tired of seeing drag queen story hours,” Bell said.

While there was strong support for the Fayetteville reading, others were there in protest. Over 20 peaceful protestors attended the event. The protests centered around concern for kids who may be queer or struggling with their gender identity.

The pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Clint Schnekloth, strongly believed there could have been kids in attendance Friday struggling with their gender identity. His concern is that religious messaging could be negatively impacting kids.

“It’s really harmful to trans kids and other youth who are working through issues of gender identity and sexual orientation because he’s basically trying to shut down any space for them to consider those kinds of things,” said Schnekloth.

Along with protests inside the building, protests were also happening outside the building. People gathered drawing quotes and illustrations on the ground in response to the book reading. A woman also held a silent demonstration while blindfolded. During her performance, you could see a tear stream down her face.

One of the books Friday was read by Laura Perry. She went through a gender transition process and then later decided to de-transition. In her talk with the kids, she mentioned she at one point in her life tried to be someone she wasn’t but didn’t go into the details.

“She read ‘Elephants Are Not Birds’ which teaches that you are made perfectly the way you are– you don’t have to change who you are,” Bell said.

Bell said the Freedom Island Tour hasn’t been widely accepted by libraries across the country. The stop before Fayetteville was in Hendersonville, TN. According to Bell, a librarian there got caused issues and was upset with Brave Books hosting its book tour.

While Bell said he appreciated protestors exercising their first amendment rights, he was upset to see they entered the room with the book reading with their signs. He said while the book tour has had protestors, that isn’t something they have seen before.

“None of them have had quite the audacity or boldness to enter into the book reading. I would never go to a drag queen show story hour, even though I don’t condone that at all,” Bell said.