My kids hate me because I limit what they can get from Scholastic. I say it has to be a book, but you would not believe how much useless crap they still get.
From today’s Publisher’s Lunch:
Scholastic Under Fire for Selling Merch to School Kids
The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is agitating against Scholastic again, claiming that through its school book clubs the company “has exploited its unique access to schools by marketing an array of non-book products in its monthly book club fliers…. The campaign said about one-third of the items for sale in Scholastic’s elementary and middle school book clubs were either not books or were books packaged with other items such as jewelry, toys and makeup.”
Campaign director Susan Linn says, “The opportunity to sell directly to children in schools is a privilege, not a right. But Scholastic is abusing that privilege by flooding classrooms across the country with ads for toys, trinkets, and electronic media with little or no educational value.”
Scholastic evp Judy Newman tells the AP “We’re losing kids’ nterest (in reading). We have to keep them engaged. This (book club) model is 60 years old, and it has to stay relevant to do the work it does. To the extent we put in a few carefully selected non-book items, it’s to keep up the interest.”
Newman tells the NYT, “We work with teachers to make sure that items are O.K. to put out in their classrooms. In a class of 24 kids, some of them will be turned on by a game, and it helps kids engage in the book club process.”
The Campaign is the same group that takes credit for getting Scholastic to stop selling products featuring the “sexy” Bratz dolls in their school book clubs and fairs. (Scholastic said it was pulling the products because of low sales.)
Last fall the campaign took credit for having persuaded Scholastic to discontinue selling picture books based on the overtly sexy Bratz dolls in any of its school book clubs or fairs this school year. At the time, Scholastic said its decision was influenced as much by dwindling sales as it was by the campaign’s push.