Dear Scholastic, Since I am a Mind you “Admire”

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

Scholastic recently chose to censor a book (or more accurately ask an author to alter her book-which is a form of censorship) because one of the characters, wait for it . . . has, gasp, “two mommies.” The School Library Journal has the background story. Normally I would stop at passing this article around and encouraging people to act, signing petitions, sending complaints, etc. But, a reader sent me the link to Scholastic’s own blog On Our Minds. And, more importantly pointed out that somehow this blog makes a list of minds they “admire” (aka their blog roll). Since they “admire” my mind I thought I would give them a piece of it.

Dear Scholastic,

It was recently pointed out to me that this blog, Academhack, is contained in a list on your website under the heading, “Minds We Admire.” Since you admire my mind I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you what this mind thinks, particularly in response to your recent “UPDATE on Luv Ya Bunches“.

  • I think writing a 300 word blog post attempting to explain your position, while never once addressing the fact that you asked the author to “clean up the book” removing the reference to same-sex parents amounts to tacit admission that the company asked Lauren (the author) to alter her work. In other words tacit support of homophobia.
  • I think that defending yourself by pointing to other books you publish with gay and lesbian characters is a bit like saying “some of my best friends are gay.”
  • I think if I worked for your company I would quit.
  • I think that publishing the book is far different from actively promoting it at your fairs. This is like a “don’t ask don’t tell policy” where you accept difference so long as it doesn’t become too inconvenient.
  • I think that you are making a business decision, not an ethical one, and I think you should just be honest about this.
  • I think that you are trying to avoid complaints by conservative narrow minded homophobic people at the expense of presenting and promoting diversity.
  • I think if I were a children’s author I wouldn’t let you sell my book until you reversed your policy.
  • I think that censoring diverse voices is a sure fire way to propagate intolerance. I think that the communities from which you most fear backlash are perhaps the ones who most need to see this book displayed.
  • I think bowing to financial pressure over doing what is right is the sure way to end up on the wrong side of history.
  • I think that you are a business which will make financial choices, but I also think that schools and parents can chose which businesses they want to support.
  • I think if I were a primary school teacher I would refuse to pass out your catalog to my students.
  • I think I will buy several copies of Luv Ya Bunches and give them out to kids I know. I can think of no better way to combat your homophobia than by encouraging kids to read books which tell diverse stories. (That and one of your competitors will get my money, sending you a financial message as well.)