Target customer explains that children's book from Pride section was marked as 'recalled' at checkout

@saralane_/TikTok Ken Wolter/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Apparently they were getting backlash so they pulled it’: Target customer says children’s book from Pride section was marked as ‘recalled’ at checkout

'I've never seen this before.'


Jack Alban


Posted on May 15, 2023

Imagine grabbing a product off of a store shelf and attempting to purchase it at a self-serve kiosk, only to be told by a screen prompt that you aren’t allowed to purchase it.

One would assume that this would be the case for items that require an age limit for purchase, like cigarettes, alcohol, or certain medications.

However, TikToker Sara Lane (@saralane_) says that this happened to her while attempting to buy a children’s book at a Texas Target location from the store’s Pride section. She delineated her experience in a viral clip that’s garnered over 26,000 likes on the popular social media platform.

@saralane_ There’s nothing I can find online about this book being recalled but its also not showing up on Target’s website. Has anyone else heard anything about this?? #abcdeconstructinggender #deconstructinggender #kidsbooks #ashleymolesso #chessneedham #target #targetfinds #targetrecall #targetpridecollection #targetpridecollection2023 #genderdeconstruction #genderfluidpride #gendernonconforming #gendernorms #pride #nonbinarypride #progressivemom #liberalmom #liberalmoms #childrensbooks #childrensbook ♬ original sound – Sara Lane

“So I was at Target self-checkout yesterday and I was trying to buy this book from the Pride section and it was recalled,” Lane says in the video. “So when I rang it up, it immediately said on the screen, ‘A team member is on the way,’ which is weird. Like, you know, that happens when you are trying to purchase alcohol or something. No, it was a book.”

Lane says the employee came over, put in her code, before telling her that the item appeared to be recalled.

“And I was like that’s, it’s a book, and she said, ‘Yeah, that’s really weird. Usually things are recalled based on ingredients in them or something like that. I’ve never seen this before.'”

Due to the recall, Lane says she wasn’t able to purchase the book, ABC-Deconstructing Gender by Ashely Molesso and Chess Needham.

“She couldn’t let me buy it and I’m not finding anything online about this, so I was wondering if anyone else has heard anything about it,” Lane inquires at the end of the video.

The picture book was published by Hachette Book Group this year. According to the publisher’s website, the title is currently being offered at Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Bookshop, and Target.

Publishers Weekly posted an article in March 2022 delineating that a number of LGBTQ books were removed from Target’s website. The outlet said they received a response from the retailer stating that the decision to remove the titles were attributed to a “website change” and a few days later, the “majority” of the books on the list were put back up on the store’s website.

When the Daily Dot tried navigating to the Target URL on Hachette Book Group’s website for ABC – Deconstructing Gender, we were met with a web page that read, “We couldn’t find a match for your search.”

A number of TikTokers who saw Lane’s post said that this was more than likely due to an error in Target’s system.

One commenter remarked that the book was more than likely not supposed to be legally sold yet, as a similar thing happened when they attempted to purchase an Adele release prior to it being officially dropped. “Probably wasn’t supposed to be on the shelves yet. I seen this happen when they accidentally released the Adele album early,” they claimed.

Someone else said that if a book was recalled it’s more than likely due to a mistake made by the printer. “Recalled books are normally a printing error. Whether it be a coloring or miss print error,” they wrote.

However, others claiming to be Target employees alleged that the book was pulled from Target shelves as a result of backlash due to its content.

“From working at target it def is recalled not just not in the system if u got that alert !” someone argued.

“I work at Target and they told us about it, apparently they were getting backlash about it so they pulled it before it got to most store,” another alleged.

Twitter user Miel Moreland uploaded a Google Spreadsheet listing a number of LGBTQ titles that were removed from Target’s website and then highlighted the ones that made a return in green. Of some 127 titles, 108 were put back for sale online as of this writing.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Lane via TikTok comment and Target via email.

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*First Published: May 15, 2023, 12:50 pm CDT