Scholastic, the well-known children’s book publisher, has decided to reverse its earlier decision to create a separate list of books focused on topics such as race, gender, and sexuality. This decision comes after facing significant criticism for the list, which was originally intended to provide school book fair organizers with the option to exclude these titles due to emerging state laws that emphasize content appropriateness in educational settings.
Recognizing the controversy and negative feedback surrounding the distinct list, Scholastic made the choice to withdraw it. In a recent statement, the company expressed that they understand the separate nature of the collection has caused confusion and feelings of exclusion.
Starting in January, Scholastic plans to discontinue the list and reassess its strategy. The company wants to ensure that their book fairs remain accessible to every child while also accommodating educators who are navigating local content restrictions.
Scholastic has expressed concerns about the current socio-political climate in the United States that may limit children’s access to diverse books. They believe that it is important for children to have access to a wide range of stories and experiences.
Several authors whose works were included in the list spoke out against Scholastic’s initial decision. Amanda Gorman, author of “Change Sings,” expressed her dissatisfaction and described the decision as a betrayal.
The “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” list included a variety of books, such as those featuring same-sex parents, graphic novels about indigenous cultures, and biographies of significant figures like Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and civil rights activist John Lewis.
Scholastic previously defended their decision, stating that not offering these books at all would have been the alternative. However, the specific books from the list that would genuinely face legal restrictions at school book fairs remain unclear.
In states like Florida, there are specific guidelines regarding the teaching of subjects related to gender, sexuality, and race. However, a representative from the Florida Department of Education clarified that certain books from the list, such as the biography on John Lewis, would not infringe upon Florida’s laws.
Responding to Scholastic’s reversal, the spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education commented, “This is a political stunt by a corporation prioritizing activism over the well-being of children.”
Scholastic’s decision to reverse their plan reflects the complexities surrounding the inclusion of diverse books in educational settings. As discussions surrounding content appropriateness continue, it will be crucial for publishers, educators, and lawmakers to reach a balance that ensures all children have access to a wide range of perspectives and experiences through literature.