Nov 27, 2023 - News

Virginia school district enlists Scholastic book fair alternative

Illustration of three flying books.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Kirk Cameron — the 1980s heartthrob turned evangelical Christian and author — is getting involved in the public school book battle playing out across the country, and in Virginia.

Driving the news: The actor will be at a Spotsylvania high school on Saturday for the SkyTree Book Fair, a new-to-market event promoting itself as an alternative to perennial school book market vendor, Scholastic, The Free Lance–Star reports.

  • Cameron sits on the SkyTree Book Fair board and is helping launch the new book fair, which hopes to replace Scholastic and its "sexually explicit content aimed at young kids" with its own "wholesome literature" school book fairs, per its website.

Very little is known about the Texas-based SkyTree, but the group is touting the Dec. 2 event in Spotsylvania as its first public school book fair win.

Zoom in: Spotsylvania superintendent Mark Taylor invited Cameron and SkyTree to town and is personally paying for any fair-related costs, according to the Washington Examiner.

Context: Scholastic has been the go-to book fair for public schools since 1981, bringing hundreds of titles to thousands of public schools each year while giving a portion of proceeds back to schools.

Meanwhile, SkyTree launched sometime last month with a barebones website that offers little information about itself beyond it being an alternative to Scholastic.

  • According to LancasterOnline, SkyTree is a distribution arm for Brave Books, a self-described faith-based children's book publisher with ties to conservative media.
  • It's not clear which titles SkyTree will bring to book fairs. Its website doesn't include a list, and the group declined to provide one to LancasterOnline, saying it's still building out its collection.

Worth noting: In Virginia, Spotsylvania, Madison and Hanover counties have been at the forefront of removing books from school libraries, per the Times-Dispatch.

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