In a letter addressed to their authors and community, Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger revealed that Scholastic has reversed its previously contentious decision regarding the optional status of diverse texts at Scholastic Book Fairs. This letter was not released to the public but posted on social media last night by several authors, who addressed the mishap and the subsequent fallout.
The letter read in part, “First, I want to apologize on behalf of Scholastic. Even if the decision was made with good intention, we understand now that it was a mistake to segregate diverse books in an elective case.”
Earlier this month, Scholastic, recently announced its intention to make the “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” collection optional for schools that used their services. This decision raised concerns from both their authors and the community due to the separation of this collection from its main offerings in response to the sweeping book bans across the country.
With Scholastic having to pivot, the letter continues into their next course of action. “..starting with our next season in January. For the remaining fairs in the fall, Book Fairs is working on a pivot plan as we speak. We will find an alternate way to get a greater range of books into the hands of children. We remain committed to the books in this collection and support the sale throughout our distribution channels.”
The “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” collection was introduced as a response to the challenging educational landscape, where certain books were being restricted due to local content regulations. Just this year, The American Library Association (ALA) reported 695 attempts to censor library materials in the first eight months of the year, impacting 1,915 unique book titles. The majority of these challenges were directed at books by or about people of color or LGBTQ authors, highlighting the vulnerability of diverse literature.
In the letter, Berger reaffirms scholastic commitment to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ authors. “Scholastic believes in the basic freedoms of all individuals. We oppose discrimination of any kind on the basis of age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression or national origin. We are committed to providing access and choice, and to helping young readers develop critical skills needed to exercise democracy and build a society free of prejudice and hate.”
Vicky Fang, the author of Ava Lin, relished the change of course. On Twitter Lin remarked on X, “Scholastic has sent a letter apologizing, reversing the program, and redoubling efforts to combat book-banning legislation. Thank you to all who signed and shared the statement which helped instigate forward momentum for Scholastic’s decision.”
Pen America, the organization that is currently suing a Florida school district over unconstitutional book banning, issued this statement this morning via X (formerly Twitter) from their Free Expression and Education Program Director Jonathan Friedman. “Scholastic recognized that, as difficult as bind as this pernicious legislation created the right answer was not to become an accessory to censorship. Scholastic is an essential source of knowledge and delight for countless children. We are glad to see them champion the freedom to read.”
The Educator’s Room reached out to Scholastic for comment but has not received a response.