The Reading Cult for Kids: Scholastic Books
I have vivid recollections of my six years in elementary school. A few are traumatic–hysterics on the first day of kindergarten after being pried from my mother’s arms and deposited aboard a menacing, yellow bus; a sadistic first grade teacher who sported a towering beehive (in ’81) and took pleasure in punishing disorganized little me by dumping the contents of my desk on to my lap as I sat on the floor crying. But there were good times amid the trauma.
I recall the fun that was inhaling the heady scent of mimeographed paper (old-time photocopies for the youngsters!), D.E.A.R time (Drop Everything And Read), and best of all, SCHOLASTIC BOOK FLIERS and FAIRS.
Scholastic has been peddling books to school children via mini-newspapers for almost 60 years. I perused the flier with the fervor of a lost man studying a map.
Whole hours were spent poring over the literary possibilities. The epic decisions that rested on my little shoulders threatened to break me. Should I stay safe and go with Clifford and Corduroy, or maybe try something new?
Going out on a limb, selecting an unknown author or title, was a venture fraught with peril. A feeling of unease would set in if I let spontaneity rule; I would invariably pick the cruddiest book that Scholastic offered. Weeks of anticipation and waiting for my package would be for naught.
I still own a few of my Scholastic purchases to this day. The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willow Davis Roberts was one of my favorites and still has a place of honor in the “silver” section of my organized-by-color book cabinet.
So, ‘fess up. Were you a Scholastic disciple? Did you order up books from the little newspaper? I know this wasn’t only a Jersey thing–sure, we’ve got the market on nuclear waste and the mafia cornered…but other states had to have Scholastic too!