Scholastic Takes a U-Turn: The Controversial “Diverse Books” Case Gets Discontinued
Scholastic, a name synonymous with children’s education, recently found itself in hot water. The issue? A separate, optional case of “diverse books” for elementary school book fairs. Publisher’s Weekly is reporting this move, initially intended to promote diversity, ended up sparking a debate that reached the ears of renowned authors like Amanda Gorman and Celeste Ng.
The Birth of the “Share Every Story” Collection
The “Share Every Story/Celebrate Every Voice” book collection was Scholastic’s answer to the growing wave of book ban legislation across the U.S. The collection featured works predominantly from BIPOC and LGBTQIA creators. Sounds like a noble cause, right? Well, the twist was that this collection didn’t ship automatically with book fair orders; it was an optional add-on.
The Backlash: When Good Intentions Go Awry
The program might have flown under the radar, but librarians took to social media to share the news. Scholastic even penned an explanation. However, the program faced a storm of criticism. Authors like Amanda Gorman, Celeste Ng, and Jacqueline Woodson raised their voices against the initiative.
Why the uproar? The issue wasn’t the diversity of the books but the segregation of them into a separate case. It was a classic example of good intentions leading to unintended consequences.
Scholastic’s Apology and Future Plans
Ellie Berger, the president of Scholastic Trade Publishing, issued an online apology. She acknowledged the mistake of segregating diverse books, even if the intention was good. Starting January, the “Share Every Story” collection will be discontinued. For the remaining book fairs this fall, Scholastic is “working on a pivot plan,” promising an alternate way to distribute a broader range of books to children.
PEN America Weighs In
PEN America, an organization that champions free expression, praised Scholastic’s decision. Jonathan Friedman, the director of Free Expression and Education Programs, stated that Scholastic had recognized the mistake and was not becoming “an accessory to censorship.”
Lessons Learned: The Road Ahead
The incident serves as a lesson in the complexities of promoting diversity and inclusion. While the aim to showcase diverse voices was commendable, the execution missed the mark. It’s a reminder that even well-intentioned actions can have unintended repercussions.
Scholastic’s willingness to listen, apologize, and make changes is a step in the right direction. It shows that the journey to inclusivity is fraught with challenges but is a road worth traveling. After all, the goal is to get more books into the hands of children, books that reflect the diverse world they live in. And that’s a mission we can all get behind.
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Owner of TRS since 2003
An aficionado of romance novels for many years, Tina has owned The Romance Studio since 2003 and for 20 years, has enjoyed highlighting the best books in the genre. She enjoys all aspects of marketing including writing content, book trailer design, and finding captivating new books for voracious readers. She has also written over 20 romance titles under various pen names. In another life, she writes horror and works as an extras casting assistant for TV shows and films in the North Carolina and South Carolina regions.