This is heartbreaking news about what was a wonderful part of so many of our childhoods. The Scholastic Book Fair encourages many young people to fall in love with reading. That Scholastic is willing to take the path of least resistance and allow censorship to rule the bookfair is super disappointing.
A report on Reddit claimed Scholastic has developed a "bigotry button" that selects a censored catalog of books, eliminating all "books with BIPOC characters, LGBTQ+ topics, immigration issues, and racism." Other educators piled on with similar reports. Seems very odd that a large corporation with what amounts to a monopoly on book fairs would choose to sell fewer books. Bad for the shareholders and contrary to good business practices. Isn't Scholastic big enough to have ignored calls for censorship had they wanted to, rather than make it an easy select box?
The poster explained that their school's librarian was upset when Scholastic asked her the bizarre question of whether she wanted to include diverse books at her school's book fair. Apparently, Scholastic has compiled all of its "diverse" books—books with BIPOC characters, LGBTQ+ topics, immigration issues, and racism—into one case. The posters noted that these books ranged from kindergarten to middle school, so it did appear that Scholastic specifically looked for diverse books across all age ranges to separate from all the rest of the books. This way, conservative and bigoted school officials can easily decide that they don't want diverse books and refuse to have the diverse case sent over.
A week later, librarian and TikTok user Tegan B posted a video making similar accusations. They recounted being asked if they wanted diverse books, and even though they confirmed that they did, the diverse bookcase wasn't sent until three days into the fair. While a few books with BIPOC characters were still included in the "non-diverse" book selections, the majority of the librarian's books were about animals or white characters. This meant that many of her predominantly Hispanic students didn't get the option to buy books they saw themselves reflected in.