The Censorship of Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Love in the Library

On Wednesday April 12, author Maggie Tokuda-Hall shared her experience of Scholastic wanting to feature her book Love in the Library in their Rising Voices Library

I reached out to the Scholastic communications team with some questions. You can read the text of the email I sent below.

Good afternoon, my name is Matt Imrie, I am the editor of the TeenLibrarian blog and newsletter, I hope that you are the correct person to contact about the questions I have about the recent post (https://www.prettyokmaggie.com/blog/2023/4/11/scholastic-and-a-faustian-bargain) by author Maggie Tokuda-Hall that Scholastic recently made an offer to license her book Love in the Library contingent on removing the paragraph from the author’s note on racism. I have been writing a series of articles on challenges to books in school & public libraries and I am reaching out to Scholastic for comment on Maggie’s claims.

This is concerning, especially in the light of the current bans and challenges to books for young readers in school and public libraries that are occurring on a daily basis across the US.

Has Scholastic been engaged in censoring books to preclude the chance of challenges to works they publish? If so has this disproportionately affected authors & illustrators form minority communities or has this been happening cross the board?

They responded pretty promptly yesterday afternoon, attaching a message from Schoalstic President & CEO Peter Warwick:

No matter what Scholastic say or do now I fear the damage wrought by this harmful action may take a long time to heal, if it ever does.

The ripples are still being felt and will be for quite some time. Trust, once broken takes a long time to be rebuilt.

One of the original Scholastic Mentors, Joanna Ho posted a statement on her Instagram feed:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CrBEpt0shhh/

Dr Sayantani DasGupta a mentor for the Scholastic Rising Voices AANHPI Narratives collection resigned her mentorship:

Publishers Weekly has also covered the story here.

In this instance it appears that enough people stood up in solidarity to shake the walls of Scholastic enough to make them walk back their attempts at censorship. Once again it is a person from a minority group in the US that has been the focus of this attempt.

This is wrong and should not be happening, and it will not stop until enough of us stand together with the BIPOC people that bear the brunt of these attacks and demand genuine change and accountability so this does not keep happening.

Open Letter to Scholastic’s Education Solutions Division re: Censoring Authors:

https://forms.gle/rgNbsA5Ft3pGqv7v8

Former mentor Dr DasGupta has also revealed that the exclusion of queer voices in previous Rising Voices collections was systemic:

By Matt Imrie on April 14, 2023 · Posted in Books, News

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