Scholastic will drop policy that makes it easier for school fairs to exclude diverse books

FILE - Poet Amanda Gorman arrives at the 65th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 5, 2023. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Scholastic Inc. will end a widely criticized policy that made it easier for school book fairs not to sell works with racial, disability and LGBTQ+ themes.

The children's publisher angered many authors and educators this fall when it created a separate package of dozens of books, labeled “Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice,” and gave schools the option on whether to include them in fairs. Poet Amanda Gorman, whose “Change Sings” was among the titles in “Share Every Story,” had said in an Instagram video that Scholastic's decision “felt like a betrayal.”

Scholastic had said the policy, which will remain in place for the rest of the year, was a response to the proliferation of restrictions passed by states around the country. The publisher has not settled on a strategy for 2024.

“This fall, we made changes in our U.S. elementary school fairs out of concern for our Book Fair hosts. In doing this, we offered a collection of books to supplement the diverse collection of titles already available at the Scholastic Book Fair. We understand now that the separate nature of the collection has caused confusion and feelings of exclusion,” according to a Scholastic statement issued Wednesday.

“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. As we reconsider how to make our Book Fairs available to all kids, we will keep in mind the needs of our educators facing local content restrictions and the children we serve.”