Scholastic Allegedly Allows Schools To Exclude Diverse Books At Book Fairs
Scholastic Books, one of the largest book companies in the world, has been putting on book fairs for years but is now under scrutiny by librarians who allege they allow schools to decide if they want to have diverse books included in their book fairs.
The organization has created a category called “diverse books” for publications that feature BIPOC characters, LGBTQ+ topics, immigration issues, and racism.
Author Kelly Jensen deemed the decision as “insidious” and one that librarians should “raise hell about” after the decision was discussed at The Association of Illinois School Library Educators meeting. The decision reflects conservative political efforts to censor books discussing race and LGBTQ+ themes. Florida, Mississippi, and Iowa are among the states that have enacted laws that require schools to remove books that talk about these themes.
Librarians have taken to social media to express their disdain for Scholastic’s possible censorship of diverse books. One Reddit user posted, “Scholastic offers’ bigotry button’ for school book fairs.” The user said their school librarian was enraged when Scholastic asked if they wanted “diverse books” included in the book fair.
A similar post was uploaded on TikTok by user Tegan B. The user was asked the same question about including diverse books. However, after confirming that the book fair would use these books, they were not received until three days after the book fair started. The user said some books included BIPOC characters in the non-diverse section, but it was mostly filled with books about animals and white characters.
#Scholastic is allowing librarians to opt in or out of having #diversebooks in their Book Fairs this year. First, diverse books should be in all collections automatically, our WORLD IS DIVERSE. Second, I opted in to have the diverse books, but did not receive them. They’re on their way, but I’m already on day three of my Fair, and many students have already purchased, and will miss out on a book where they could see themselves, versus an animal or someone they can’t relate to. C‘mom folx, we gotta do better for these kids. #weneeddiversebooks #booktok
An organization, BRAVE Book Fairs, is known to support the removal of diverse books from book fairs. The organization alleges that Scholastic sneaks books into schools to “expose kids to the LGBTQIA+ agenda and promote dangerous and anti-biblical ideas.”
According to the outlet, Scholastic’s decision raises concerns for librarians and administrators who may be forced to exclude particular books from their book fairs to save their jobs.