So Mara and I just finished writing another blogger about a book series they do that we’ll be featured on and since one of the questions asked about our favorite childhood books, we started reminiscing about how awesome “Read-a-thons” were back in elementary school.

Wasn’t it the best to show up in your pajamas and bring a pillow or two to sit on? And then you’d just read all day long.

I’m pretty sure workplaces should continue this tradition and let their employees come in just like the old days.

For some reason, my mind immediately went back to the disgusting treats that I used to bring. I couldn’t even remember what they were called, and had to type in a few different searches in Google until this one finally worked: “what is the name of those snacks that were like a pizza pretzel?”

Seriously, in retrospect, how gross were those?  I don’t think I want to know what was in the filling.

Mara’s read-a-thon snack was Tato Skins. I’m pretty sure that’s not quite as gross as my childhood favorite. I’m also pretty sure those aren’t real potato skins.

Two books that I seem to remember most were “Island of the Blue Dolphins” and “The Iceberg Hermit.” I guess I was into the whole stranded/lone survivor kind of thing. I also loved the series “Childhood of Famous Americans.”I think I read at least 20 of those, and read them more than once (my favorites were Jim ThorpeHenry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Lou Gehrig).

Mara’s favorites were “Charlotte’s Web,””The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” and “Stewart Little.” And of course, we cannot forget the ones she says she devoured…..”Little House On The Prairie.”

So, in the interest of taking a trip down memory lane, what was one of the best books you remember reading from your elementary days?

And also, we want to know what your favorite childhood snack was (the one you now can’t fathom eating)?

(top image source)

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  1. Kristian May 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    I work in an elementary and have never heard of a read a thon where you just come to school and read all day- either from work or my own childhood. Interesting concept!

    • danny May 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      I can't believe you never had a read-a-thon when you were in school! I thought everybody did those.

      And no, I'm pretty sure NO workplace does it…but it would be kind of cool if they did.

      I also worked in education for the last 3-4 years in NY – and I don't know that they did them there. Maybe it's the shift to so much test prep or something like that. That would be a shame.

  2. Robin May 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Fun question! I loved read-a-thons!! I remember reading the Goosebumps series, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Baby-Sitters Club. The snacks my mom let me take were trail mix, pretzels, and Swedish fish. 🙂

    • mara May 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      Trail mix!!! Yes! I'm smiling. I had forgotten about that one. That was one of my all time favorite snacks for stuff like summer girls camp. Thinking about it takes me back. 🙂

  3. Mary Schaubert May 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    I loved The Little Princess – and still do! It's such a beautiful concept – all little girls are princesses, and not because they're beautiful, but because they're kind. As for the snack – geez probably teddy grahams dipped in icing. Not going to lie – I bet it's still delicious, but I'd never eat it now!

    • danny May 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      The teddy grahams were amazing….though I think I preferred the cinnamon kind. And yes, I'm pretty sure they'd still be delicious.

      Those are the kind of treats that if I was baby-sitting and the parents gave me some snacks that are meant for the kid…I'd probably eat a few 🙂

  4. Sharlee May 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    I loved read a thons!!! I did teach elementary school. This was my last year and they are a lost art. 🙁 It's very sad. My favorite childhood book was Rescue Josh McGuire. As an adult I fell in love with the Series of Unfortunate Events and Because of Wine Dixie. I brought all sorts of snacks and can't remember them all, but Pringles were one of them. 🙂

    • mara May 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      heck yes on the Pringles. Those were definitely on my special snack list. haha.

    • danny May 29, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      I'm pretty sure Pringles still are on the snack list. Though it is dedicated to those difficult times when you're hungry and we can't seem to find anything gluten/dairy free, and so we resort to the trusty Pringle….haha.

      It may not be particularly healthy…but it satisfies an urgent need when traveling.

  5. A Few Good Eggs May 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Where the Red Fern Grows! It was the first book that made me cry. The next was Bridge to Terabithia. And I always liked Handi-Snacks (with that disgusting but delicious fake cheese).

    • danny May 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Oh man, I totally remember balling my eyes out on Bridge to Terabithia. I had to go hide in the coat room of my house. I had no idea that was going to happen, it had never quite happened before. That was a good one.

      You know what's sad, I don't think I ever read "Where the Red Fern Grows", but I did watch that movie more than a few times. Perhaps one of these days I'll need to pick it up. Beautiful story.

      As for Handi-Snacks, those never became a tradition in my family. Of course, gross, but delicious as always 🙂

    • mara May 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Amen on Where the Red Fern Grows. Definitely a fav. of mine, too. That and Old Yeller and The Box Car Children. 🙂

    • mara May 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      And OH YES. The Handi Snacks. I adored those. Something about digging out that cheese with the little red stick. haha. eww.

  6. Anonymous May 29, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    I cried reading Bridge to Terabithia when my daughter and I read it aloud to eachother when she was 10.
    As for my elementary days, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and me Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg. Funyons (I am sure there are no onions in there).

  7. Anonymous May 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    oops I meant "when WE read it aloud" …Dang.

    • mara May 30, 2014 at 1:26 am - Reply

      No worries! I'd be rich if I had a penny for every mistake I've made on line. 🙂

  8. Julie Darlene May 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    I love this trip down memory lane. We did these when I was in elementary school. I also loved Box Car Children, Babysitters Club (ha!), goosebumps, Ramona books, etc. I don't remember bringing a snack but I sure was obsessed with anything sour back then. I seem to remember some kind of hard candy with a sour "filling". So weird but I loved them back in the day.

    • danny May 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      I loved me some Sour Patch Kids, and Lemon Heads. Just thinking about it got the saliva flowing from that place in your mouth that knows you're thinking of eating something sour.

  9. Amber May 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Oh boy, I used to love corn nuts! I think I would break a tooth if I tried to eat them now. Also red vines licorice!

    • danny May 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      They have corn nuts here (though not so artificially flavored) and serve them fresh and piping hot with many meals. It's kind of awesome.

      And though Mara disagrees, I'll happily state that in the war of Licorice, Red Vines rule!

  10. Elizabeth Anne May 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I loved mysteries – Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. I also loved the Sweet Valley High books. I agree with the Red Vines being the best licorice. I also loved Gushers when I was little but now just the thought of that syrup stuff squirting out – gross!

  11. Amy May 29, 2014 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    This might be one of my favorite posts 🙂 I've been addicted to books for as long as I can remember. Goosebumps, Sweet Valley Twins (young and teen books), Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, plus so much more. I remember reading The Outsiders in one night (when the assignment was, like, the first 15 pages or something) and just CRYING. Such a great book. For snacks- Little Debbie's. Yum (now i try to push my cart as fast as possible past them so my kids don't notice them…)

    • mara May 30, 2014 at 1:30 am - Reply

      I cannot believe you said Little Debbie. haha. You had me laughing out loud on that one. I was obsessed with Nutty Bars. In fact, in Junior High they actually sold them at lunch time and I probably ate one as part of my lunch for likely the entire 7th grade. Oh my!

  12. I remembered those, and I sure remembered the snacks. Yup, I hate to think what was in those fillings as well, but they were delicious. My favorite books back then were the sweet valley high and encyclopedia brown books. I couldn't get enough of them. Those were the days 🙂 Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  13. Jessica Hall May 29, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    I remember doing read-a-thons as a kid but not every year. Teddy Grahams were always my favorite snack. I do remember in one of my classrooms we had an indian tent and we could go in there and read and I was went there. It was my absolute favorite. I honestly don't remember what my favorite book was to read in Elementary, I read a ton and read many of the Goosebumps series. Or just what was in our class libraries.

  14. Jennifer Theriot May 30, 2014 at 12:27 am - Reply

    What a great post! I loved reading when I was a kid and remember my favorite books so fondly. Among them were The Little House on the Prairie series, The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, and Roald Dahl books. For snacks I actually only remember eating fruit!

  15. Caryn May 30, 2014 at 2:26 am - Reply

    Oh, I don't remember ever having a read-a-thon! I'm so sad to gave missed out on those! Favorite chapter books from childhood though would be The Boxcar Children series and The Mandy series. And I loved cheeseballs, Pop Rocks, and the frosting covered animal crackers. Oh man.

    • danny May 30, 2014 at 5:36 am - Reply

      I think you just listed some of the most delicious items that I can think of. Seriously, is there anything better when it comes to childhood comfort food, than a frosting covered "Grandma's" animal cracker?

  16. Chris Hill May 30, 2014 at 2:38 am - Reply

    Judy Blume books and A Wrinkle in Time series. We didnt have read-a-thons at school but enjoyed them at home on school breaks :). Loved Willy Wonka Dinosaur Egg jawbreakers and Marathon caramel candy bars. I don't think either are made anymore.

  17. Virginia May 30, 2014 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Never heard of a read-a-thon, but I had free reading periods all through elementary and middle school and even in a couple high school classes. My favorite book growing up was Mandy by Julie Edwards. I loved all the Boxcar Children books, The Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew. It's funny to think about now, but I remember getting in trouble as a kid at bedtime–I'd read with a flashlight under my covers when I was supposed to be going to bed. I didn't have a "reading" snack per say, but my most requested snack growing up was a plate of apples, saltine crackers, and cheese.

    • mara June 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm - Reply

      Yes, I remember getting in trouble due to reading in my bed with a flashlight. haha. Sounds kinda like getting upset with your kids for eating spinach. 🙂

  18. Janet May 30, 2014 at 6:09 am - Reply

    Harriet the Spy, anything and everything by Beverly Cleary, a Wrinkle in Time…I could go on. And I was spoiled. My mom always sent me with homemade chocolate chip cookies (with plenty to share, of course). Yum. GOOD times!

  19. irishshammrocks May 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    The Little House on the Praire series. My Mom read it to me first (I didn't learn to read until 4th grade I had a learning disability) and after that I read it over and over again. Once I finally learned I was off like a rocket. Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Dear America, American Girl, Babysitters club, The Boxcar Children.

    If you've never read any of the Boxcar children GO DO IT!! They were timeless and a lot of fun.

  20. Amanda May 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    kid snacks I'd never eat now: spray cheese, gobstoppers the size of your fist, bazooka gum, sugar water Popsicles (well I still eat those).

    We never had read-a-thons in Washington but we did have the Book-IT program which for every 5-10 books you read, you got a free personal size pizza from Pizza Hut. My brother and I enjoyed many a pizza. My faves are "The B.F.G." the "Choose your own Adventure" series, "Anne of Green Gables" series (and I mean I read EVERYTHING that Lucy Maud Montgomery ever wrote), "Scary Stories" series, "Superfudge", "Tales of the 4th Grade Nothing", most of Beverly Cleary. I could go on and on.

    Definitely read "Where the Red Fern Grows", it was a childhood favorite movie that I nearly had memorized but the book was completely different.

    • danny June 1, 2014 at 4:06 am - Reply

      You've convinced me, it's time to buy "Where the Red Fern Grows"!

    • mara June 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      Oh my, free pizza for reading?? That must have been HEAVEN! I can't imagine anything more exciting as a kid. haha. And I'm with you on Lucy Maud Montgomery. I was completely obsessed.

  21. Garren and Larissa Allred May 30, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    These were always my favorite daysbin elementary school. As a child I loved Sharon Creech books. I think I read Chasing Redbird at least 50 times. I started reading Harry Potter in third grade and fell in love. My great grandparents had copies of all the classics so I enjoyed those as well. Boxcar children, babies sitters club, sweet valley high… I read anything I could get my hands on! My snack of choice was always salt and vinegar chips and red vines!

  22. megan May 31, 2014 at 3:15 am - Reply

    I have no idea what a read-a-thon is! I've never heard of it! Interesting! I grew up in WA, CA and AZ.

  23. Leah May 31, 2014 at 6:17 am - Reply

    I forgot about the read-a-thons! (Which is actually kind of fitting since I was usually the kid who forgot and wore normal clothes to school). I loved them, though. My favorite books were the Chronicles of Narnia, The True Confessions of Charolotte Doyle, Hatchet and the Anne of Green Gables series. As for snacks, those Little Debbie things were my favorites growing up – Particularly the oatmeal cookie sandwiches and the weird rolled up pastry with strawberry & cream filling.

  24. Kelli Trounce May 31, 2014 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Loved read-a-thons! I can't remember the snack I would have brought, but I do remember the one I made when I got home from school: cheerios with melted butter and salt (sort of like pop-corn)! I've made it for my kids, and they like it too!

    • danny June 1, 2014 at 4:08 am - Reply

      haha, oh man how I remember eating way too much of that. Who's idea was that anyway? Did mom do that for us, or were you the one that started it?

  25. Ruthanne June 1, 2014 at 3:03 am - Reply

    I loved all of the Roal Dahl books, they made me laugh out loud! Corn nuts, jolly ranchers, and whoppers 🙂

    • mara June 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      Jolllly ranchers!! Of course! And corn nuts. Yes, yes. Two things always on my "want" list.

  26. danny June 1, 2014 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Sorry you deleted your comment, but just wanted to say thanks James! Mara and I were really honored to be included in Clayton's book, but more than that I'm grateful to have learned what I did from him. He's one of the kindest, most sincere human beings I've ever encountered.

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