Teachers are sounding the alarm that Scholastic has removed books with diverse characters from its book fairs to comply with book bans, but Scholastic says that isn’t the case
For millennials of a certain age, Scholastic Book Fairs were a magical time, when you got to leave class to browse cardboard displays of books and school supplies before inevitably spending all your allowance on a bunch of erasers. Today, though, Scholastic is under fire for apparently giving in to book bans that have gone into effect in some school districts and removing books featuring diverse characters from shelves unless schools “opt-in” to receiving them.
Teachers have been expressing their dismay over Scholastic’s new policy, which is apparently to remove books featuring any diversity at all by default. This TikTok video explains what’s going on.
Scholastic’s new policy is in response to book bans and new legislation around books in schools in many states, and it separates out books with LGBTQ characters and people of color into an optional “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” box that librarians must opt into. Scholastic issued a statement responding to claims like the ones in that TikTok video, admitting that they are keeping many LGBTQ and books about BIPOC history aside to comply with book bans in some states, but denying that all diverse books have been removed from their book fairs.
“We don’t pretend this solution is perfect – but the other option would be to not offer these books at all – which is not something we’d consider,” Scholastic said.
But some of the titles that have been removed from book fairs and put into the “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” include a biography of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and a picture book about Congressman John Lewis. These aren’t controversial titles—they literally just tell the true stories of Black Americans.
And then there’s the fact that Scholastic, a billion-dollar company that corners the entire school book fair market, could have put some muscle into fighting book bans instead of… this. Or they could have just kept all these books in their book fairs and left it up to individual librarians to decide which books to display. The bottom line: There were so many other options Scholastic could have taken.