Scholastic, the well-known book publisher, has decided to separate certain books related to race and LGBTQ+ themes into an optional collection for elementary school book fairs.
This move, named “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice,” allows elementary schools to choose whether to offer or exclude these books at their book fairs. Scholastic made this decision to navigate various state laws and local pressures that challenge such content. The collection features 64 titles covering topics like racism and gender identity, including stories about civil rights figures and significant moments in U.S. history.
“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,” said via a public statement Friday.
However, this change has sparked criticism from educators, authors, and advocacy groups who fear school censorship. The advocacy group PEN America was one such organization.
“PEN America shares the dismay we are hearing from authors over news that, at Scholastic Book Fairs, access to certain books by a diverse group of authors has been limited or partitioned because of content related to race, racism and LGBTQ+ identities,” said the group in a statement. “We have spoken out repeatedly to condemn legislation that has the effect of restricting what books can be accessed and taught, putting teachers, administrators and librarians under penalty of discipline if they traverse intentionally vague lines of censorship.”
Some of the books included Andrea Davis Pinkney’s “Because of You, John Lewis,” and “I Am Ruby Bridges,” by Ruby Bridges.