Today I have gathered the Satellite crew in the main cabin for what I like to call..reading time. Yes, a foreign concept in this technical world of cell phones and computers. Gather round the virtual library and marvel at some classics that may have passed by a whole generation of kids..Yes today is Scholastic Day at The Satellite!!
Begin Transmission: April 1 2016
I was a fan of school..although the younger me would dispute this many mornings struggling to get up out of bed. Overall if I look back I would not trade one day of the public school system. In our home town there were none of today’s craziness with guns and drugs and bullying..we came to school…hung out with our friends and at time at the most an odd fight would break out but would be settled in the court of the playground. Yes my fellow school goers were generally a civilized bunch and it was always good times. One very memorable thing that I looked forward to every month was a little 4-6 page pamphlet that teachers would hand out so you could order books and have them delivered to your school. The Scholastic Book Order was the Sears Wish Book of Public School!
Scholastic was an American based publishing company that offered discounted literature to school districts all over Canada and The United States. They distributed order forms to schools for kids and parents to browse and order books through their services. Scholastic did a great job marketing their titles to kids as they had access to all the latest trends, movies or show publications and would feature them prominently in their pages of their flyer. The flyers were usually 4-6 pages in length and each page would feature plenty of books and items for order. The front Splash page usually featured the most current popular books and deals while the inside of the flyers would offer a variety of offerings from various authors. Of course Scholastic was careful to have multiple circulars for all different age groups so that offerings to elementary school children would not be the same as the offerings to Teens in Jr. High.There were literally hundreds of books from time to time and the prices were never at gouging level..and they also had great savings on bundle packages where you could get a full series of books for one low price.
I ALWAYS looked forward to these book orders. Once you made up your mind on what books you wanted or could afford, you filled out a long rectangular order slip in the last page of the flyer and noted the items you wanted. You then bugged your parents to fork over the cash and depending on what they donated to the cause decided your literary fate for that month. I feel I always fared decently well..Now where to start??
I fondly remember some of my classic hauls. Early on in our elementary days I loved kids magazines such as Dynamite and Bananas. Both were variety magazines which usually had celebrities from the favorite TV shows of the day and an interesting interview or story about them on the inside.
Dynamite was the better of the two as it had a more serious approach and featured the things I loved as a kid like Star Wars, Different Strokes, The A-Team and Knight Rider to name a few. It also featured plenty of puzzles, quizzes and cartoons to keep you reading!
Before the internet I got my movie and TV news through Dynamite!! Bananas was a comedic almost Mad Magazine style of publication which looked and felt a lot like Dynamite in terms of content and layout but went more for laughs than telling news stories or interviews.Both were great launching points into reading.
As my interests changed so did my literary intake. Fun puzzle books and gimmicks were always a staple in the order forms.We didnt have the large selection of media offerings with CDs and video games like kids of today..nope..we had to write our own fun with great stuff like Mad Libs!
As a long-standing comics fan Scholastic offered higher brow reads so instantly I was drawn to my version of high education..Garfield!! The classic strip bound in a soft cover format were always a favorite of mine and one of my first ever grabs as a kid!! Yep I was introduced to everyone’s favorite Lasagna eating, ideological Cat on the ground level with this classic!! This was MY kind of literature!! Others in my class had advanced deep into The Hardy Boys , Nancy Drew and The Bobbsey Twins books so this Hero was being left behind at the bottom of the literary food chain..that had to change..I couldn’t be ordering kids stuff when the rest of the class was ordering the equivalent to Shakespeare.
I traded in kids magazines and comic strip books like Garfield, and Mad Libs for novels.I will admit some of my need to dip into the adult side of the pool was because of my love of cover art. I fondly remember buying the Lloyd Alexander Collection. The artwork was very fantasy like and it drew me in like a tractor beam. I will admit to merely skimming the adventures of young Taran but I had to have that art.If not for the fine folks at Scholastic I would never have dared take a chance on such an author!
So I would quickly realize that literary classics like a Wrinkle In Time and Oliver Twist would not be for me..nope..I loved movie adaptations! So while others read higher brow selections I grabbed such classic as The Karate Kid!! It was perfect for me..it was short, easy to read and had a color photo section from the movie!!
Of course Science Fiction was always my “go to drug” so when I gazed upon Star Trek 3 The Search For Spock in the book order, I knew I couldnt wait! I could finally find out what happened to Spock after Wrath Of Khan! Our town didn’t yet have a movie theater so this book was one of the few ways of knowing the “Spoilers” that would happen in the movie!! Yes it was still the era of the VHS tape and I would have to wait sometimes over a year before our video stores would have this movie so I put the “X” in the box next to that novel on my book order and loved it when it came! It had a foil embossed logo and all! Nerd Heaven when it wasnt cool!!
As cool as Star Trek was my first passion was always Star Wars and Scholastic super served our kind with their variety of Star Wars fun!! I grabbed my Return Of The Jedi novel with awesome hand and light saber cover!! Guess what..didnt read a page! I devoured the 8 pages of color photos inside scrutinizing every last detail! As with Star Trek it would be a long time before I watched the film on VHS!
There was the holy trinity of Star Wars books :The Jedi Masters Quiz Book! Not for the casual fan. This book was written by a kid named Rusty Miller and was insanely detailed and the 425 questions would challenge George Lucas himself!! I fact I am certain that old George would not correctly answer some of these questions!!
I opted not to read much of the Return Of The Jedi Novel because truth be told, Scholastic had THIS Bad boy…The Return Of The Jedi Storybook!! The fully illustrated photo story book with a ton of photos from the film and plenty of narrative that made you feel like you were getting the whole story!! Years later I would get this same book in a hole in the wall book store in Buffalo New York with a hard cover!!
Occasionally if you order a promotional set of titles or spent a certain dollar amount Scholastic would reward that lucky kid with an awesome free poster!! They usually had some pretty cool giveaways. Luckily it was not always a cute cat poster..from time to time you would get awesome posters like this!! Always an incentive to spend more!!
Over the years I amassed a very large book collection but there was one book that always stuck with me that may be my favorite book of all the selections I ever ordered…yes the Coup De Gras is THE GREAT SUPERMAN MOVIE BOOK!! This book was visually striking and loaded with pics and info all about one of my favorite superheroes of the day!! It had a giant Superman poster inside, and talked all about the Superman films and behind the scenes of them. This was the Internet before the Internet was the Internet..Just go to Amazon and get this one..tell em Hero sent ya. Anyone out there have this one? Share your thoughts below!!
So to the fine folks at Scholastic, a big thank you from this adult who grew up reading because you offered it! Tons of great Scholastic memories still stay with me! The anticipation of order day arriving and getting that wonderful stack of books is just a great visual etched in my brain. So as we close the Satellite Virtual Library we want to hear from YOU our valued readers! What did you get in your Scholastic Orders? We want to know.
Till Next time heroes…Class time is over. Now back to your stations!!