Choose Your Own Adventure

You are browsing through the internet, the square of your screen casting a bluish-white glow on your face. In your World Wide Web wanderings you come upon a blog that has just published a new post, ready to be perused.

If you decide to move on to some other corner of the internet, click away.
If you realize you’ve been online for far too long and you are starting to feel hungry, close the browser and find a snack.
If you are intrigued by the blog post, keep reading…and maybe grab a snack anyway.

CYOAChoose Your Own Adventure books are now a familiar (or at least nostalgic) part of children’s literature, but really they’re a pretty recent addition to the literary scene. The concept of a reader-protagonist who makes decisions every few pages to change the story’s outcome was pretty much unheard of before Edward Packer, the man who turned bedtime stories to his daughters into a new book genre in the 1970s.

Though his first book, The Adventure of You on Sugar Cane Island, was repeatedly rejected during the first decade of Packard’s attempts to publish, his idea finally took off once it was picked up by Bantam Books under the newly created genre of “gamebooks. It spread like wildfire, with Packard and other (contracted) authors writing dozens upon dozens of titles for young readers to enjoy.

The Choose Your Own Adventure books had their shining moment throughout the 80s, but by the end of the 90s computer and video games took over with their own, similarly addictive interactive formats. The popularity of the Choose Your Own Adventure books waned, but they set the standard for innovative storytelling and book series for years to come.

Did you read any of the Choose Your Own Adventure series? Which were your favorite? Find more on the history of CYOA books with a search on Newspapers.com.

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