Scholastic flips on censorship of “gay-friendly” books.

Did you hear about the kerfuffle? Here’s the short version:

Scholastic, one of the largest education publishers in the world with broad influence over the reading materials of children everywhere, just dipped its toe into the anti-gay movement.

The publisher is censoring a book that depicts a girl character with two moms because they consider it offensive and inappropriate for children, preventing it from appearing in its Scholastic Book Fairs.  These are the same book fairs that have reach to millions of schoolchildren nationwide.  By censoring the book, Scholastic is sending the discriminatory and harmful message to children everywhere that same-sex relationships and gay/lesbian parents are wrong and should be hidden from sight.

The book in question is Lauren Myracle’s new book “Luv Ya Bunches”, which features one character that has two moms.  One of Scholastic’s justifications for censoring the book is that they wanted to avoid letters of complaint from anti-gay parents.

This is offensive, wrong, and exactly the opposite of the message of tolerance we should be sending to children.

Indeed. Well, Scholastic heard from angry people, including yours truly. This just arrived in my e-mail:

Dear Mr. ___________,

 

Scholastic has been helping kids learn to love to read for almost 90 years. Scholastic does not censor books.  The selection of books we carry in our book clubs and book fairs is the result of a careful review of thousands of titles each year, and we are committed to a review process thatconsiders all books equally regardless of their inclusion of LGBT characters and same sex parents.

 

Scholastic is already supporting Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle. This book is featured prominently on both the student and teacher covers of our December 2009 Arrow Scholastic Book Clubs catalogs which are already printed and are in schools right now.  On October 16 we also recorded a Book Talk Editors’ Choice Video which features Luv Ya Bunches.

 

Scholastic editors recognize Milla’s two moms as a positive and realistic aspect of the story. We offer other books with same sex couples and gay and lesbian characters in Book Clubs and Book Fairs including The Name of This Book is Secret and The Misfits, as well as the upcoming After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson, and others. Scholastic provides books that will appeal to the wide range of interests and reading abilities of children in the many diverse cultures and communities we serve. Luv Ya Bunches helps us fulfill our mission to do that.

 

In an interview with School Library Journal, Scholastic stated that we are currently carrying Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle in our school book clubs.  We also said we were still reviewing the book for possible inclusion in our book fairs.  Having completed our review of Luv Ya Bunches, Scholastic Book Fairs will carry the title in our spring fairs for middle schools.

 

Thank you for taking the time to express your opinion. Scholastic is very proud of its long history of helping children learn to love to read. We look forward to continuing to bring the best in children’s literature to communities across the country and around the world as Scholastic has done for nearly 90 years.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kyle Good

Vice President, Scholastic Inc.

Now if they could only offer actual books in the school book orders, and stop selling toys and other non-book crap.

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