Scholastic will alter its approach to elementary school book fairs in spring 2024. Books once included in the optional Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice collection, along with additional books featuring inclusive content, will become part of regular book fair shipments. The changes come in response to outcry over Scholastic’s handling of books with diverse content and authorship, which the company had diverted into an optional collection out of concern for what it called “enacted or pending legislation.”

“From our experience in the fall, we have learned that separating out titles or highlighting titles that might make teachers and librarians vulnerable to serious legal and professional consequences is not the answer,” Scholastic noted on November 29.

“In planning this path forward, we sought input from internal stakeholders across our divisions, as well as external partners,” Scholastic CEO and president Peter Warwick wrote to PW. “We understand that the challenges we are solving for are complex and nuanced, however, we are confident that this is an effective solution that will allow us to move forward and stay true to our mission to reach all children.”

On October 13, Scholastic had justified the optional collection as a way to appease school administrators, educators, and librarians who feel “vulnerable to being fired, sued, or prosecuted” for offering books that address gender, race, disability, and other topics related to children’s identity. Critics called the option a form of segregation and acquiescence to censorship that deprived children of valuable information.

On October 25, Scholastic apologized, acknowledging “that the separate nature of the collection has caused confusion and feelings of exclusion.” The company said that “the Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice collection will not be offered with our next season in January,” which raised questions about the fate of the set, which included biographies of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights memoir I Am Ruby Bridges, Michael Hall’s identity parable Red: A Crayon’s Story, and poet Amanda Gorman’s Change Sings.

Last week’s statement reiterates that Scholastic is “discontinuing the supplemental Celebrating Voices Collection” while clarifying that these books are now part of regular shipments. “Spring ’24 Scholastic Book Fairs will include all of the books from the fall Celebrating Voices Collection throughout the fair, joining a number of new titles with a wide array of representation,” the company wrote.

In addition, book fair participants can expect “an enhanced, online Book Fair preview with industry standard information and search functionality similar to any other reputable online sites, so schools and Book Fair hosts can explore the books in advance of their fair.” Rather than anticipating how locations will display or suppress titles, Scholastic will “deliver all books in the fair to schools, which will be able to make their own local merchandising decisions, as they have always done, just like any bookstore or library.”

The complete list of titles for 2024 is “still being finalized for the preview” and not yet available, according to Anne Sparkman, senior v-p of corporate communications. Sparkman said that readers and caregivers will still be able to browse and order from the online fair catalog: “There is no change to the family experience which will continue to allow access before and during the fair to the titles online (as inventory and rights allow).”

In the latest statement, Scholastic underscores a mission to make books accessible, to improve literacy, and to promote a love of reading, while pointing to “extraordinary challenges” in the political landscape of U.S. schools. “We are committed to helping schools share stories that represent, reflect, and inspire all children through Scholastic Book Fairs. It is also critically important that we create a path forward to offer a Book Fair experience to all children, while giving our book fair hosts what many of them need to navigate legislation and policies.”