Oct 25, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scholastic reverses decision to separate diverse titles at elementary book fairs

A sign for the book fair with animations. Text says "Scholastic book fair! All purchases benefit our school." Colors on the banner are red, orange, yellow.

Scholastic Book Fair banner outside a school in Queens, N.Y. Photo: Lindsey Nicholson/Getty Images

Scholastic apologized and reversed course on a recent decision to separate about 30 books on diverse topics in elementary school book fairs.

Why it matters: Scholastic's announcement came after its separate collection, which allowed schools to opt in, opt out or limit the books' inclusion at fairs, was criticized for being exclusionary.

  • "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," the company said in a statement.
  • The collection "Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice," which included books on gender, sexuality and race topics, will not be available at book fairs in January, Scholastic said on Wednesday.
  • "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," the company said.

Zoom out: Scholastic's initial move was in response to legislation in more than 30 states that prohibited or would prohibit certain books from being in schools.

  • The book bans are mostly targeting books about LGBTQ and race topics.

Upon ending the collection, the company apologized in a letter to the authors, illustrators, licensors, educators, librarians, parents and readers.

  • "Our commitment to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ authors and stores remains foundational for our company," the letter, posted to social media, said. "Scholastic believes in the basic freedoms of all individuals."

Go deeper: Book ban attempts hit beloved Scholastic fairs

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