Scholastic has come under fire in recent weeks over their policy concerning Scholastic Book Fairs. The company had censored the books it was sending to schools, reacting to the legislation in states that discriminate against LGBTQIA+, minorities, and basically anyone that’s not white and Christian. To deal with the bigotry, Scholastic played “separate but equal” with a collection called “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice,” giving into the hate as if it was ok.
Today, Scholastic has reversed that decision and will not offer the “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” in January. In a statement they state they will “reconsider how to make our Book Fairs available to all kids, we will keep in mind the needs of our educators facing local content restrictions and the children we serve. “
Scholastic’s concerns, and understandable, is that by providing books that are banned/might be banned/controversial, they set up teachers, schools, librarians, those involved, to be sued/fired/stoned by the hatemongers of the community.
What Scholastic did was give into the legislation and highlights a lack of the book industry’s response and organization to fight to the legislation being proposed and passed.
As has been shown, a dark money network is funding campaigns against “Critical Race Theory”, something not being taught in schools. This book banning is an off-shoot of that showing these pushes are about as natural as an oral bowel movement. The “movement” is being used as a wedge issue to whip up voters by the right since they have nothing else to run on. It attempts to pit parents vs. bureaucrats (and teachers and librarians), a match that’s unfortunately pretty easy to get traction on. The movement has been working for decades and continues the right-wing push to take over at the local level, first at the state and now even lower to get their regressive agenda passed.
In 2022 2,571 unique titles were challenged, up from 1,858 in 2021, and a massive jump from 2020’s 223. A Washington Post investigation found that only 11 people were responsible for filing 60% of the challenges in 2022.
It’s good that Scholastic has changed their stance, but it’s only a small step for a very long fight to come with much more that needs to be done.
You can read Scholastic’s full statement below
This fall, we made changes in our U.S. elementary school fairs out of concern for our Book Fair hosts. In doing this, we offered a collection of books to supplement the diverse collection of titles already available at the Scholastic Book Fair. We understand now that the separate nature of the collection has caused confusion and feelings of exclusion.
We are working across Scholastic to find a better way. The Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice collection will not be offered with our next season in January. As we reconsider how to make our Book Fairs available to all kids, we will keep in mind the needs of our educators facing local content restrictions and the children we serve.
It is unsettling that the current divisive landscape in the U.S. is creating an environment that could deny any child access to books, or that teachers could be penalized for creating access to all stories for their students.
By listening to those who share our mission – we have successfully piloted our way through past difficult periods, and we will do so successfully again.