Scholastic U.S. reverses decision to ban book
A tween novel deemed unfit for Scholastic’s U.S. school book fairs – due in part to the fact that it features a pair of lesbian moms – has been reinstated in the wake of an online petition signed by more than 4,000 people. According to officials from Scholastic U.S., Luv Ya Bunches will now be made available at middle-school fairs, although it will still not be sold at elementary schools.
The Canadian arm of Scholastic, meanwhile, had no reservations about the novel. In an e-mail sent to Q&Q Omni yesterday, Scholastic Canada director of marketing Nancy Pearson said that there was never any discussion of excluding Luv Ya Bunches from its book club or school fairs, and that the U.S. arm came to its decision on its own.
The author of the book, Lauren Myracle, told Q&Q Omni on Thursday that she was surprised when Scholastic U.S. passed on the book. In a letter sent to her publisher, Amulet Books, Scholastic’s book fairs division asked her to clean up the relatively mild language and to change the two same-sex parents to a straight couple. “The other issues [Scholastic had problems with] – words like ‘crap’ – just made me shake my head and laugh,” said Myracle. “But the idea that two moms could be problematic ... well, astonished would be the best way to describe my reaction.”
In response to the criticisms, Myracle reluctantly cleaned up the language – changing “crap” to “junk” – but she refused to excise the lesbian parents. As a result, Scholastic Book Clubs agreed to carry the novel, but the book fairs division refused.
In the wake of the online petition – and even a mocking reference to Scholastic’s decision on Late Night with Conan O’Brien – Scholastic U.S. agreed to sell the book at middle-school fairs. But because the book is about elementary-school children and is recommended for readers aged nine to 12, Myracle doubts the move will result in many sales. “A step forward is a step forward though,” she said. “Kudos to Scholastic book fairs for deciding to include it, period.”
Myracle, who is straight, has written four other novels with gay characters, Kissing Kate; Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks; ttfn; and l8r, g8r. None of them has ever been featured in Scholastic book clubs or fairs, she said.