Scholastic, the children’s book publisher, will no longer separate titles that deal with race, gender, and sexuality at book fairs, according to The New York Times. The company, which runs more than 120,000 book fairs in elementary schools a year, had controversially started listing 64 such books in a catalog titled “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice” earlier this month as a reaction to new state laws that restricted the types of books children could access. It would be up to participating schools to choose to include titles from the “Share Every Story” catalogue at its fairs. But the outcry from parents, teachers, and authors changed the minds of Scholastic decision-makers.

The books include biographies of civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, a novel about a Native American, and a book about families that depicted same-gender parents, according to the Times. The publisher’s critics said Scholastic was kowtowing to censors.

“We understand now that the separate nature of the [“Share Every Story”] collection has caused confusion and feelings of exclusion,” Anne Sparkman, a rep for Scholastic, said in a statement. “We are working across Scholastic to find a better way. The Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice collection will not be offered with our next season in January. …

“It is unsettling that the current divisive landscape in the U.S. is creating an environment that could deny any child access to books, or that teachers could be penalized for creating access to all stories for their students,” she continued. “By listening to those who share our mission – we have successfully piloted our way through past difficult periods, and we will do so successfully again.”

The publisher sent a similar letter to its authors and illustrators apologizing for the debacle. “Even if the decision was made with good intention, we understand now that it was a mistake to segregate diverse books in an elective case,” Scholastic President Ellie Berger wrote. “We sincerely apologize to every author, illustrator, licensor, educator, librarian, parent, and reader who was hurt by our action.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, applauded Scholastic’s efforts. “Scholastic’s decision to stop segregating diverse books at its Book Fairs shows that the company has listened to readers, authors, educators, anti-censorship advocates and community members,” she wrote on Instagram. “An overwhelming majority of Americans reject book bans and reject the extremist fringe few who look to dictate what other people read and what other people’s children read. Every student deserves to see themselves and their families reflected in books. Rather than feed the book-ban crisis and appease extremists, Scholastic’s Book Fair can now continue to focus on the joy of reading and discovery, to offer students and parents more choice, access, and stories that accurately reflect and truly represent all voices.”


Last week, author Tanisia Moore told Rolling Stone she felt dismayed when she learned that her book, I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, was included in the “Share Every Story” list a month after it came out. “When I became a mom, I really realized it was important that the books on their bookshelf look different than the ones that I had as a kid,” she said. “It just feels important to make sure that I’m diversifying their bookshelf so that they can see themselves on the pages, as a main character. And this [Scholastic decision] does a disservice to kids who might need to see this book, Black children in particular.”

In her letter to creators, Berger pledged to figure out a way to offer a wider selection of books at its book fairs until January, when the catalogue will return to its previous state.