Many of you have been following the story of Scholastic and their request that author Lauren Myracle change the lesbian moms of one character into a mom and a dad. According to the original article on this by School Library Journal, Scholastic would not consider the book for its book fairs unless the change was made.
Over 4000 people--many of you--signed a petition at Change.org asking Scholastic to reconsider. The hard-working folks at Change.org, especially Michael Jones, editor of their Gay Rights blog, also worked behind the scenes with Scholastic, and now bring us some good news: Scholastic will now include the book in their spring book fairs.
All is not yet resolved, however.
On the positive side, the company, which only received a 50 out of 100 on HRC's Corporate Equality Index, is now on record as stating: "We are committed to a review process that considers all books equally regardless of their inclusion of LGBT characters and same sex parents." I hope that stance will benefit many authors--and, more importantly, many children--in the future.
It's a far cry from Scholastic's response to SLJ's first inquiries, when they said: "Authors are often given the opportunity to make changes in the books to meet the norms of the various communities that host the fairs."
Did they change their minds, or was there an initial misunderstanding? You decide. Consider, though, that Myracle was kind enough to respond to an e-mail I sent her, before this latest news broke. She states:
I appreciate the support of Scholastic's Book Club, which makes books available to kids through their catalog, and which is indeed offering Luv Ya Bunches to its readers. I have recently been informed that Scholastic Book Fair is considering Luv Ya Bunches for its spring school book fairs. That's great. It's so very important, I think, to reflect the wonderful diversity of our country and culture. I do, however, stand by what I told School Library Journal.
Here's the remaining problem, though. Scholastic has only stated they will carry the book in their middle school book fairs. The book, however, is listed as appropriate for ages nine to twelve. Nine years old usually means fourth grade. Not only that, but the four protagonists of the book are in fifth grade. That's elementary school, folks, in every school system I've ever known.
The fine folks at Change.org are continuing to speak with Scholastic and see what more we might do to help make the book available to all kids for whom it is appropriate. My own sense is that Scholastic has made a move in the right direction, and we should acknowledge that--while at the same time letting them know that it is not enough.
On a related note, the story even caught the attention of Conan O'Brien. At about the 4:20 mark in yesterday'sTonight Show, he talks about a book that was banned from book fairs because it had lesbian moms. He mentions neither Scholastic nor the title, but I think it's clear he means Luv Ya Bunches. (His joke is kind of lame, however.)