Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits

Scholastic book orders: win

The fun kids over at the Once Upon A Win web site have brought back a very happy childhood memory for me: ordering Scholastic books in school! Did you? Remember the little catalogs? They were thin and bright and they looked like this, except without Rachael Ray, who I reckon is now so ubiquitous, she can infiltrate our very memories:


I went through books like crazy as a kid, but my parents could afford to purchase Scholastic books only, like, once. I remember getting my shipment, but I don’t remember what the books were.

Last fall, when I returned after nearly 30 years to Palmer, the small town in Western Massachusetts where I started school, I was excited to visit the public library where I spent endless hours reading Amelia Bedelia, George and Martha (remember them? They were hippos!) and, later, Encyclopedia Brown books, wherein you got to choose your own adventure! (UPDATE: Actually, as faithful reader Mindy points out, you didn’t get to choose your own adventure in Encyclopedia Brown books, you just got to select from several different endings).

The Palmer library also housed a nifty collection of Dynomite! magazine. (I feel sorry for any kid who grew up without it).


Alas, I was told by an old neighbor I happened across — yes, all the same people live in my little town — that the old colonial-era library had been torn down and a new modern one was built on a nearby street. I was devastated. Such memories. What new ones would have flooded my brain had I the chance to walk into that old library?

What are your book memories? Did you read a lot as a kid? What were your favorite books?

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14 thoughts on “Scholastic book orders: win

  1. Mindy on said:

    I was a huge Beverly Cleary fan,and I am pretty sure I also read every single Nancy Drew book ever…
    I also read all the Encyclopedia Browns…but aren’t those diff from Choose Your Own Adventure? I think EB just had the answers in the back of the book,and CYOA had pg #s on the bottom of the page that you could pick from…I loved those! And Judy Blume of course….being a kid was awesome.

  2. ginavivinetto on said:

    Yes, I believe you’re right. You couldn’t choose anything in Encyclopedia Brown books, you could just read alternate endings or something. But even that blew my young mind.

  3. Cheese Food Product on said:

    Any one else remember the other Scholastic magazine ‘Bananas?’

  4. Mindy on said:

    I know, when I was 8 I thought I was so cutting edge for getting to Choose My Own Adventure!
    I also remember not being allowed to use them for book reports in 3rd grade.
    And don’t feel bad,my parents never let me get stuff from Scholastic because it was too expensive.Fortunately my mom drove me to the library whenever I wanted,and I could also check out records for my Fisher Price record player!

  5. BTW, it’s Rachael Ray, not ‘Rachel’

  6. ginavivinetto on said:

    I changed it to Rachael.

  7. Cheese Food Product on said:

    You’re the best!

  8. Kevin Croitz on said:

    I remember walking into a room at school and seeing all the books for sale and being enthralled. I loved the Hardy Boys books, Encylopedia Brown books, and anything by Roald Dahl.

  9. Richard Proplesch on said:

    Got to agree with you on the Scholastic book sales, it was like a mini-Christmas when the teacher would hand out your order. I can even recall my first exposure to rock journalism with Scholastic Teens’ “The New Sound: Now!” MMM, and the smell of new books. Only second to the smell of unsealing a new vinyl album.

  10. ginavivinetto on said:

    Richard! I was just thinking about you yesterday morning. How strange!

  11. i think i still have at least one issue of Dynamite – probably the Star Wars issue.

  12. YES! I have been Googling book-orders, looking for EXACTLY what you are talking about…

    My parents didn’t always have the money to allow me to order but when I did I was IN HEAVEN!!! I specifically LOVED the little science kits (which is what I’ve been looking for on the internets). I remember actually being able to order (for my birthday perhaps?) this Ocean-life kit that had all these cool little trinkets like a blow up puffer fish…I wish I was a kid again…Oh the decisions I would have made!

  13. Hi guys i want to say that scholastic books r interesting and i always want to buy the books of Hannah but the r very costly and my parents do not afford to buy them so i use to buy it from my pocket money ….
    dont miss any chance to buy

  14. We could never afford the scholastic books either, nor the annual school book fair. (sensing a theme, perhaps they should reconsider their strategy, I still probably read more than any of my classmates). I remember finding old bobbsey twins books in my grandma’s attic and being enthralled with those. My most humbling book moment though was reading a book about comets I had taken out from the library. I was reading outside on a hot summer afternoon and left it outside when we went to run some errands. A big thunderstorm came rolling through; book was ruined and I had to do a ton of chores to pay back the library.

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