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Parents and Authors On How Scholastic Treats Books About Children of Color

Parents and authors are coming forward to blow the whistle on how Scholastic treats books about children of color with its diversity option for book fairs. Beginning in late September, several social media users came forward to allege that Scholastic was allowing schools to opt out of providing diverse books at their annual book fairs. Scholastic holds an estimated 120,000 book fairs across the United States annually, sending books to schools to expose kids to new reading material and further foster their interest in reading.

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However, while claiming its book fairs are supposed to open kids to new ideas and give them the freedom to choose what they want to read, Scholastic is simultaneously censoring diverse books from schools. Several librarians reiterated that they were explicitly asked “if” they wanted a case with diverse books at their school’s book fairs. The major publisher separated a significant portion of its diverse books from the rest of its book fair collection and put them in their own case. Meanwhile, a single librarian or school official would be given the authority to decide for the whole school if they wanted this case or not. If not, children who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, refugees, immigrants, come from blended families, or have disabilities will most likely not see themselves reflected in the books available at their book fair.

Scholastic is clearly bowing to the right-wing agenda as conservative parents and politicians have been waging a war on books. The recent unprecedented rise in book challenges that the United States has faced has significantly impacted diverse books, as conservatives target any book that isn’t about heterosexual white Americans. With Scholastic boasting the power and resources to combat these book-banners, it was especially shocking to hear the allegations that it was contributing to book censorship in schools instead. However, parents and authors are coming forward to confirm that the allegations are true.

Parents and authors reveal how Scholastic is hiding its diverse books

Parents and authors have begun coming forward with further allegations that show just how far Scholastic is going to hide its diverse books and aid in book censorship. Hailey Piper, an award-winning horror author, shared on Bluesky Social an image of the warning notes that librarians and school officials get, even after they request the diverse book case. The case in question is called the Share Every Story / Celebrate Every Voice Case. Meanwhile, the case comes with a note telling schools they are receiving it because it was “requested.” It goes on to assure the receiver that if the case was sent mistakenly, it can just be set aside until pick-up day and urges them to contact their Fair consultant if they have any concerns about receiving diverse books.

An anonymous PTA leader contacted The Mary Sue, revealing that the books in the Share Every Story case also aren’t listed in book fair catalogs sent to parents, even when the school requests the case. It is shocking how blatantly Scholastic is trying to hide and stigmatize these books, refusing to let parents get wind of them and offering schools every opportunity to turn their back on them. The PTA leader also shared a list of the books that are included in the Share Every Story case, and it’s quite heartbreaking to see the 65 books that children are potentially being denied.

The list includes several gems, like Kwame Alexander’s award-winning Booked, poet and activist Amanda Gorman’s Change Sings, and Pura Belpré Award-winner Efrén Divided. There are books that tackle Black history or recount the lives of figures like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Malala Yousafzai. Others delve into themes of acceptance, identity, and celebration of one’s heritage or highlight the experiences of BIPOC, refugee, immigrant, or disabled children. There are also books like JoJo’s Sweet Adventures: The Great Candy Caper and Red: A Crayon’s Story that seemingly made the list for coming from LGBTQ+ authors or touching on gender identity.

The vast majority of these books have no objectionable content in them. They’re children’s books that are void of profanity or sexual content and are age-appropriate. Hence, Scholastic is truly separating them and treating them differently for no other reason than that their characters are diverse. A librarian has shown what her collection looks like without those books, and while a few books with BIPOC characters made it into the fair, the vast majority are about animals or white characters. It’s already been discovered that there are more books about animals than BIPOC characters, and it’s horrific to see Scholastic contribute further to this inequality by purposefully taking away 65 valuable and representative books from children.


#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

♬ original sound – Tegan B

How can a publishing company rationalize making books about BIPOC characters “optional,” segregating them, and putting warning notes on them? This isn’t just book censorship but a painful display of discrimination. The BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students at the bigoted schools that are opting out of diversity are already likely facing daily challenges and being forced to fight not to have their identities and histories erased. Now, on top of that, Scholastic is taking away the one opportunity they might have per year to see their identity and stories celebrated or acknowledged in a small way.

(featured image: FatCamera / Getty)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.