Almost every child's library contains Scholastic books for kids. As the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, Scholastic has been promoting a love of reading since 1920.
Maurice R. "Robbie" Robinson founded Scholastic Publishing Company in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company began publishing youth magazines, but released its first book in 1926. The book was titled Saplings and featured work by the winners of the company's student writing awards.
Scholastic began its focus on providing affordable literature to children with the start of its first book club in 1948. Titles cost 25 cents, and the publisher marketed them for older teens. Book clubs for elementary school students were not introduced until the 1960s.
In the 1980s, Scholastic started to expand its offerings to include videos, television programs, and other products based on popular characters from its books. This helped the company become more profitable, but did not change its emphasis on children's literature.
Popular Scholastic Books for Kids
Scholastic has exclusive publishing rights in the United States for the Harry Potter book series. J.K. Rowling's books are the best selling children's book series of all time, with sales of over 400 million copies for all combined volumes. The initial US print run for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, was 12 million copies. More than one million pre-orders for this title were submitted through Amazon and Barnes & Noble alone.
Other books published through Scholastic include:
- Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
- Animorphs by K.A. Applegate
- The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborn
- The 39 Clues series of mystery books
On the nonfiction side of things, Scholastic owns Klutz Press. Klutz books often focus on science, crafts, or interesting hobbies. There are Klutz books about topics such as natural disasters, interesting inventions, making paper airplanes, tying knots, and learning how to juggle.
I-Spy books are published by Scholastic under the Cartwheel Books imprint. These titles challenge children to find various hidden objects within a collection of themed pictures.
Scholastic Book Fairs and Book Clubs
For many children, Scholastic books for kids are associated with school book clubs and book fairs. Scholastic has worked hard to become a major presence in elementary schools throughout the United States.
Scholastic book clubs distribute fliers on a monthly basis, targeted towards children in a specific age bracket such as grades K-2. Parents fill out the order forms, submit payment to the teacher, and the books are delivered directly to the classroom for the student to take home. For parents on a budget, each flier contains a number of Scholastic books for kids priced at $5 or less. There are usually several books for $3 and one featured book selection that is $1. Occasionally, Scholastic will run promotions that offer you a chance to earn extra books by placing your order online.
During the holidays, Scholastic book clubs usually offer an option of purchasing a gift certificate for your child's teacher to use to select a book for the classroom library. This can be an excellent way for your child to show her appreciation for her teacher while helping to reaffirm the value of reading.
Scholastic book fairs typically contain many of the same items featured in the book club fliers, as well as supplemental merchandise like decorative pencils or posters with popular cartoon characters. For children, the primary appeal of the book fair is that items are available to enjoy immediately.
Scholastic book fairs are often held as fundraising events for various extracurricular programs and activities within the school. In many cases, they are scheduled during conferences, school carnivals, or other events that will be heavily attended by parents.