When you think of the children’s book publisher Scholastic books, you might have warm, fuzzy memories of school book fairs, exciting YA titles, and the “Magic School Bus” series responsible for speeding up so many bisexual awakenings (Miss Frizzle hive, stand up!)
But that association might well be at an end: a recent decision takes Scholastic out of the “fond childhood memories” category and firmly places it in the “pandering to bigots” pantheon.
A recent decision on the part of Scholastic corporate allows teachers and school librarians to remove certain diverse titles from display if they personally feel that children shouldn’t be exposed to them. Combine this decision with this year’s attack on queer and trans youth via state-wide book bans in states like Florida and Alabama, and you’ve nearly got a second Kristallnacht on your hands.
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If you think that’s being overly dramatic, just want until you get a load of the statement Scholastic put out. It’s cowardly, absurd, and downright insulting to the intelligence of millions of readers desperate for diverse storytelling.
“There is now enacted or pending legislation in more than 30 U.S. states prohibiting certain kinds of books from being in schools – mostly LGBTQIA+ titles and books that engage with the presence of racism in our country,” the publisher explained in a statement released last week. “Because Scholastic Book Fairs are invited into schools, where books can be purchased by kids on their own, these laws create an almost impossible dilemma: back away from these titles or risk making teachers, librarians, and volunteers vulnerable to being fired, sued, or prosecuted.”
So basically, they’re backing down. Which is no real surprise, seeing as Scholastic is a billion-dollar, privately-owned company.
It’s no wonder that queer writers and readers are expressing their disgust in no uncertain terms.
Even Scholastic employees are upset by this pathetic move.
Writer Angie Thomas, author of the 2017 YA bestseller “The Hate U Give,” encouraged folks to reach out local bookstores in lieu of asking Scholastic to fulfill further book fair needs.
Scholastic says they’re interested in protecting teachers and librarians from getting fired, but it feels a lot more like an attempt to protect their bottom line.
As other users have been quick to point out, a small group of jerks are responsible for over half the book bans currently in effect.