Washington D.C. – People For the American Way announced that it has launched a petition strongly urging children’s book publisher, Scholastic, to change its new policy of removing or segregating books at children’s book fairs. Under the new policy Scholastic will banish books about race, gender or sexuality to a separate section at school book fairs or eliminate the books entirely. The policy was announced as a means of complying with local and state restrictions on materials that can be taught. Books affected include biographies of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and civil rights icon John Lewis.
The petition is addressed to Scholastic President and CEO Peter Warwick and Executive Vice President Sasha Quinton and reads, in part: “As a supporter of literature and the freedom to learn, I’m outraged by Scholastic’s decision to segregate and make optional books that celebrate the diversity of our nation and world in your Book Fairs. By targeting for exclusion books that discuss topics like the LGBTQ+ community and race, you send a disturbing message to children everywhere that their differences are something to be isolated, not celebrated, which could result in lasting harm to their development and mental health.”
People For the American Way President Svante Myrick released the following statement when the Scholastic policy was first announced: “There are almost no words to describe the harm that will come from Scholastic’s decision to segregate or eliminate books dealing with race and gender from its book fairs. Putting these books in a separate section will send an unmistakable message to kids that being Black or LGBTQ is so wrong, so out of the mainstream, that it belongs in a separate room. That the books consigned to this Siberia will include books about icons like Ketanji Brown Jackson and John Lewis is even more incomprehensible. We are urging Scholastic, in the strongest way possible, to reconsider this decision. The hurt and pain it could cause to kids would be lifelong.”
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way, a national progressive advocacy organization, inspires and mobilizes community and cultural leaders to advance Truth, Justice and the American Way. We convene courageous Americans, produce compelling media and organize campaigns to defend our democracy from authoritarian threats and advance America’s promise that everyone will enjoy freedom, safety and a vote that counts. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org