Scholastic recently issued a news room update on their segregation of diverse titles in their Book Fairs. Despite a previous private conciliatory letter to authors and illustrators, this new and public update provides no clarity as to how Scholastic will work to fight book bans or provide diverse texts to children nationwide. Rather, their statement lacks an apology to the affected authors and side steps any concrete actions as to how the company will support educators and students in the face of censorship.
By creating a segregated set of books, the “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” collection, and offering these diverse titles to only schools that opt-in, the Scholastic Book Fairs bent to the will of extremist book-banning groups. Now that this collection has been canceled, WNDB calls upon Scholastic to respond to the following:
- Provide a clarifying statement as to what will happen to the titles in the “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” collection. Will they be integrated into the Book Fairs? How will they be marketed and distributed?
- Issue a public apology to the affected creators in the “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” collection for the mishandling of their work.
- Publish a strategy as to how the company will fight book bans and how they will support the teachers and librarians striving to create inclusive collections and defend the freedom to read.
As the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, Scholastic plays a pivotal role in what kids read globally. We insist that Scholastic use their power to uplift diverse voices and to lend their considerable resources to combat book bans instead of bending to the will of extremist groups who want to restrict perspectives and limit the scope of children’s worldview. We also ask that Scholastic significantly increase their support of the teachers and librarians who have put their safety and careers at risk to defend the freedom to read.
We cannot and we must not bend to book-banning groups that have already stripped thousands of diverse titles from schools and libraries, and who continue to infringe upon student’s freedom to read. Educators need resources and public backing as they continue to advocate for their students and patrons, not a way to easily segregate books that would anger a small group of far right book banners who do not believe children deserve a diversity of perspectives.
WNDB will continue our work to fight censorship. We invite all publishers to stand on the right side of history and join us in this effort.