Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scholastic's Book Fair Flak

Has Scholastic gone too far? Or are parents and teachers naive to think that kids will actually purchase what is good for them (i.e. 'real' books)? Or, perhaps, is this part of a much larger and sinister plot on behalf of all kids marketers to get kids to buy more and more and more licensed crap-- oops I mean creative merchandise?

Check out this week's press release from the CCFC:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - May 19 - “Stop enlisting teachers to sell toys, make-up, and brands to students through book clubs.” That’s what more than 1,200 teachers said in a letter the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood sent to Scholastic, Inc., the world’s largest educational publishing company. CCFC sent the letter, signed exclusively by teachers, after a review of Scholastic’s 2008 elementary and middle school Book Club flyers found that one-third of the items for sale were either not books, like the M&M Kart Racing Wii videogame, or were books packaged with other products, such as lip gloss and jewelry.

I attended my first Scholastic Book Fair this fall and I have to agree... it did feel like the licensed merchandise was taking center stage, and as a parent I was completely put off. Then again, if you give a kid $5, what are they going to choose? This year's Caldecot winner, or something they already recognize and like?

Let me know what you think.

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