Scholastic FINALLY cuts Bratz books from its school book clubs

For parents and children alike, the name Scholastic is a household word. It means books and book clubs, book fairs, summer reading. It is - and certainly intends to be - a widely trusted name in children's publishing. According to the New York Times today, Scholastic will "no longer include chapter books based on the overtly sexy Bratz dolls in any of its school book clubs or fairs this year."

Scholastic books and brochures arrive mainly through the public schools. This leads many parents to expect that these books are good - or at least okay - reading for their children. We would like to think that a children's publisher, particularly Scholastic, would be committed not only to its sales numbers but also to its customers. Think again.

Scholastic pulled flyers for book fair titles like "L'il Bratz: Dancin' Divas" and "L'il Bratz: Catwalk Cuties" only after an eighteen-month fight by Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs, met with a representative from the Campaign earlier this year and said, "I can't be directed by anyone's special interest. That would almost be censorship."

As a writer, mother, children's therapist and constant reader, I consider myself at least reasonably well-informed on the topic of children's books.