LGBT

Woman Who Claims Scholastic Book Fairs Gave Her Porn Addiction Works for Right Wing Children’s Publisher

Lanah Burkhardt (pictured) testified before the Conroe ISD school board that she fell into a pron addiction from a book published by Scholastic.
Lanah Burkhardt (pictured) testified before the Conroe ISD school board that she fell into a pron addiction from a book published by Scholastic. Screenshot from X
Lanah Burkhardt, 20, had quite a tale to tell the Conroe Independent School District board at a public hearing this November.

My story started when I was 11, and I was introduced to a single kiss in a Scholastic book,” she said. “I didn’t understand why I liked it. This was the start of my porn addiction journey. I was then very curious and began exploring, and it only got worse. I looked for other books that gave me pleasure, and it led to internet searches I will never forget. I was addicted.”

Every night it was something I immediately regretted and eventually became depressed about. When I was 13 years old, I told my mom I wanted to die. My battle with porn addiction ended 7 years ago, and I’ve never told this story to the public. I didn’t even tell my mom until I was 18 years old. I’m only telling you this today because there are way too many stories which are much worse. I don’t want Conroe ISD students to repeat what I went through because they accidentally ran upon a Scholastic book pr another book that can lead them down this road.

The only problem with Burkhardt’s tale is that it’s almost certainly not true.

For one, she was homeschooled according to records from the Salt and Light Homeschool sports page. While it’s not impossible that she attended a Scholastic Book Fair, it’s highly unlikely that she would have been able to do so at 11 without some kind of parental chaperone.

For another, Burkhardt has a personal stake in closing down Scholastic Book Fairs. Her testimony was highlighted on X (formerly Twitter) by SkyTree Book Fairs, a conservative Christian alternative to Scholastic that appears to be operated with cooperation from Brave Books. According to screenshots obtained by Book Riot from the Wayback Machine, SkyTree started offering book fairs shortly after Brave Books no longer did and launched using extremely similar language about Scholastic.

Brave Books publishes children’s titles by right-wing pundits and celebrities like Kirk Cameron. For several years, they have been waging a war on Scholastic Book Fairs for promoting “The LGBTQIA+ Agenda.” While Brave Books is a for-profit company, SkyTree is a 501c3 non-profit, allowing the book fairs to receive charitable donations and not pay taxes while still pushing the same political issues that Brave Books specializes in.

According to her now deleted LinkedIn page, Burkhardt is a public relations coordinator at Brave Books. While her profile doesn’t seem to be preserved on the Wayback Machine, her job title still appears in Google searches.


Judd Legum and Rebecca Crosby of Popular Information broke the story earlier this week. Their research uncovered that Riley Lee, the president of SkyTree, was previously an executive at Brave Books.

The book that Burkhardt claimed led to her porn addiction is Drama by Raina Telgemeier, published by Scholastic. The graphic novel follows a middle school student named Callie who undergoes various coming-of-age milestones while being obsessed with her theater class. There is indeed a panel of a chaste stage kiss in the text.

Drama is also one of the most frequently challenged books for school libraries. There is a plot about a boy named Justin coming out as gay, as well as commentary on toxic masculinity. In a since deleted page on the Brave Books website, Drama is cited as a reason why people should “fight back against this woke company” and support Brave Books' own fairs. Those fairs have ceased now that SkyTree has taken up the right-wing fight against Scholastic.

That fight apparently extends to Burkhardt, an employee of Brave Books, attending school board meetings to testify about a porn addiction as if she was a random, concerned resident.

“Getting rid of Scholastic Books and their book fairs will inevitably protect kids,” she said in her testimony, where she did not disclose her relationship to the chief conservative Christian opposition to Scholastic.
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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner