Raise your hand if you remember the Scholastic Book Club when you were in school. 4 books for 4 quarters, shipping included. What a deal! My allowance was up to 25 cents a week so that meant it took me a month to save up enough money. Of course during that month I'd also probably have bought some comic books, maybe walked to town to go see a movie, and stopped at the deli for a sandwich. Okay, so maybe it took me a few months to save enough for the four books.  But I did manage to buy a few. My friend across the street bought some too and then we'd share so we'd feel like we'd gotten double the books. Of course she bought "The Pink Motel" and I didn't and I spent the next few decades hunting for the book.

Anyway, if you remember this little club you know the sales page was in the middle of the Scholastic Reader handed out every so often by your teacher. You could take the reader home and pour over the two page spread trying to imagine which books you'd buy. Then on a specific day the teacher would take your order with your coins and in a few weeks a big box would arrive. Everyone who'd bought something was excited as the box was opened and the contents distributed. Those who hadn't bought anything could at least take solace in knowing for those moments no teaching was taking place so you were free to let your mind wander.

The spread below is from a SummerTime Scholastic Reader in 1963. Do click on it to see it larger so you can take a trip down memory lane and imagine placing your order.

Scholastic Book Sales_SummerTime_1963_tatteredandlost

And now, for a few books I bought and one that was passed down to me from my best friend after it had been passed to her from her friend and before that someone else and before that...all  the names written on the inside cover. By the time it got to me it was falling apart so I loaned it out to a few friends who gave it back lest they be the ones to have nothing but a stack of pages scattered across their floor. 

Click on any image to see it larger.

Big Red_tatteredandlost
Big Read by Jim Kjelgaard, copyright 1945

Strangely Enough_tatteredandlost
Strangely Enough by C. B. Colby, copyright 1959

The Black Spaniel Mystery_tatteredandlost
The Black Spaniel Mystery by Betty Cavanna, copyright 1945

The Mystery of the Empty Room_tatteredandlost
The Mystery of the Empty Room by Augusta Huiell Seaman, copyright 1953

And finally one I found in a thrift store years ago. I've never read it, but imagine I would have had it on my list. I mean, she's wearing my swimsuit, except mine was red. And she was hanging out with surfers. Of course I would have wanted this!

Practically Seventeen_tatteredandlost
Practically Seventeen by Rosamond du Jardin, copyright 1943.

Unlike a lot of the books marketed to kids today, parents knew with these that they were safe. For us they were fun. For today's kids they'd be a bore. I have to feel sorry for them. Too much, too soon.

And from the almost always interesting Wikipedia I give you this little bit of history:
In 1920, Maurice R. "Robbie" Robinson founded the business he named Scholastic Publishing Company in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a publisher of youth magazines, the first publication was The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic. It covered high school sports and debuted on October 22, 1920.

In 1926, Scholastic published its first book, Saplings, which was a collection of selected student writings by the winners of the Scholastic Writing Awards.

For many years the company continued its focus on serving the youth market through the relatively low cost of magazine publication. So, even with the later transition into paperback books, the company continued under the name Scholastic Magazines, Inc., through the 1970s.

After World War II, cheap paperback books became available. In 1948, Scholastic entered the school book club business with its division T.A.B., or Teen Age Book Club with classic titles priced at 25 cents.
In 1957, Scholastic established its first international subsidiary, Scholastic Canada, in Toronto.

The company published paperback books under its division Scholastic Book Services. These were offered to school students via classroom mail order catalogs, known as the Scholastic Book Club. Along with the New York and Toronto publishing locations, the division also expanded further internationally to operate in London, Auckland, and Sydney by the 1960s. By 1974, the paperback book division had expanded into Tokyo as well. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
And now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to go while away a few summer moments on the glider with The Pink Motel. No, this is not a Scholastic Book Club edition, but it was through them that I first read this book. I found it years ago at the Goodwill and grabbed it. I still love it several decades later and can't recommend it enough for children or anyone who likes to imagine themselves still a child.

The Pink Motel_tatteredandlost
The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink, copyright 1959


  1. Oh how I remember. It, or something like it was still going several (many) years ago when my kids were in school. They had added a book fair that lasted for a week, so I was begged for money daily.

  2. See my hand? It's way up there! This really is a trip down memory lane! I loved the Scholastic Book Club! Practically Seventeen was one of my favorite books and I'm pretty sure I read Betty Cavanna books, but I can't remember if I read that one. I read allll the time. I still would if I wasn't on the computer so much.

    Great post! Thank you.

  3. Glad others had fond memories of this. I miss the simplicity of it. Now I look at Scholastics Book Club and it looks like it's on steroids with a big dose of MTV. It's all a bit too consumer oriented, celebrity oriented, all geared towards the attention span of a gnat, and creating little consumers. Sad really.

  4. Re: Practically Seventeen by Rosamond du Jardin:
    Is the story "copyright 1943" and this is a reprint? The cover art is definitely mid- to late-60s.

    1. I imagine it is a reprint, but I don't currently have easy access to the book.