A Statement from our Chairman and CEO, Richard Robinson, About the Rookie Biography of Donald Trump

June 16, 2018: There has been a great deal of debate this week on and off-line surrounding the biography of Donald Trump released by Scholastic Library Publishing as part of the Rookie Biographies series for beginning readers. Many critics assume it is a new publication, and are expressing anger at the idea that Scholastic would publish such a biography without addressing the controversial aspects of the Trump presidency. The intensity of the conversation reminds me how important and challenging it is to discuss current events now, no matter where one stands on the spectrum of opinion. It also reminds me of the great trust people place in Scholastic, and how passionately they respond, even when they feel we have let them down in some way.

I want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the Trump biography, the series as a whole and how it relates to our responsibilities as a publisher.

Rookie Biographies is a line of non-fiction books for very young readers in first and second grades that features historical and contemporary public figures (selected with input from thousands of educators across the country). The wide range of personalities profiled reflects the broad interests of our youngest readers, and is presented using vocabulary and concepts accessible to six-and seven-year olds.   

The Trump Rookie Biography was published in February 2017 shortly after the president’s inauguration. The book presents a simple, factual description of the new president, and is not intended to be a comprehensive review or commentary on his policies. This format is consistent with the rest of the titles in the Rookie Biographies series, which includes profiles of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

While most of the teachers and librarians we serve would agree that discussing controversial aspects of any public figure’s life isn’t appropriate for our youngest readers, they do appreciate the materials we provide to help older students discuss complex current events or challenging topics, including the pros and cons of White House policy.

To that point, we delve deeper into the controversial aspects of the Trump campaign and presidency in our books and classroom magazines for older readers. We do so in our True Books biography of Trump for readers in grades 3-5, which discusses his views on immigration and Islam. In Junior Scholastic and Upfront, our magazines for middle school and high school readers, you can find a thorough and balanced review of the president’s policies in articles such as these (here and here) on immigration.

As we state in the Scholastic editorial credo, “We believe good citizens may honestly differ on important public questions.” The ability to engage in respectful debate has never been more important. At a time when uncertainty, confusion and even fear permeate everyday conversations and headlines, we will continue to be a resource for students and educators by providing information that engages and informs young people in a balanced and thoughtful way. We will carry out this responsibility with the passion and integrity generations of teachers and parents have come to expect from our company. 

Images and Downloads:

The complete line of Rookie Biographies

Most recent Rookie Biographies of political figures