Choose Your Own Adventure Books: Stories with Multiple Endings

28 November, 2020
Can you imagine deciding the end of a fantastic story and everything that happens to its characters? Choose Your Own Adventure books make that possible!

Children’s literature has always been a magical world to explore. And every so often, a new type of of book emerges to engage various different types of readers. That’s just what happened during the 80’s and 90’s, with Choose You Own Adventure books, a type of book that would mark a turning point in children’s literature.

Such was the success of these books that they became one of the most requested collections in bookstores and the most borrowed in libraries. Today, we’ll tell you a little more about these popular titles, which will no doubt bring back some cherished memories from your own childhood.

What were Choose Your Own Adventure books like?

It was in 1972 when the first of the stories with several endings appeared. It was presented as a book-game and its goal was for children to have a fun time while they read, thus promoting reading.

However, it wasn’t until a few years later, in 1979, when the definitive boom of this type of children’s reading entered the market. Choose You Own Adventure books were so popular that they became available in more than 40 languages. What’s more, Bantam Books sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. This type of book had, and still has, the objective of interacting with the reader.

Readers will move back and forth through the pages depending on the decisions they make about how they want the story to develop.

The structure of Choose Your Own Adventure books

The narration of each book is in the second person. This detail gives readers the feeling that they themselves are the main characters of the story from the very first moment.

After a short text, the questions begin and, with them, the decisions that the reader must make. If you decide to take an action, this will take you to a given page. However, if you choose the other option, then you’ll advance – or go back – to a different page. There are no bad decisions since, no matter what you choose, the stories continue to engage the reader.

Other collections of stories with several endings

The original Choose Your Own Adventure collection consisted of 90 different titles. And, as you can imagine, other publishing houses followed suits and created their own collections with similar formats. For example, the Give Yourself Goosebumps series from Scholastic Press and the Puzzle Adventure collection from Usborne.

What’s the purpose of books with multiple endings?

This type of book has two clear objectives. First, readers themselves make the decision to direct the story towards one plot or another. Therefore, they become decision makers. Second, these books are a good resource for working in the classroom, especially in the elementary education stage.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Stories with Multiple Endings

These books encourage reading among children because of the curiosity they spark. Once readers discover one of the possible endings, they’ll want to discover all of the possibilities.

In addition, books with multiple endings offer the possibility of creating classroom discussions about which ending is most appropriate for the story and motif. In short, these books are a simple way to get children to read and to develop their oral expression.

New technologies are once again promoting this type of book

Even though these books are no longer published, many libraries and second-hand bookstores still have copies.

What’s more, the original publisher of the Choose Your Own Adventure books wanted to innovate with the arrival of new technologies in children’s lives.

For this reason, they decided to launch a children’s cartoon application with the same objective as the books. Through electronic devices, the story will develop in such a way that little readers will have to make a series of decisions to discover the end of the story.