Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Book Fair Ends Its Run

 Book Fair Fall 2009

                                                       packing up another fair

This is my fifth year at my school as librarian and the second best fair monetarily since I've been here. A fair is only as successful as the volunteers who donate their time and energy to make it run smoothly. Regina S. has worked with me four out of five years (we didn't have a fair last year--normally we have two per year). Her two girls and one son attend high school next door and her three younger boys go here. Valerie S. has two girls, one in third grade and one in pre-school. What I really like about both these wonderful volunteer workers is that they take initiative without trying to assume authority. I wish a Regina and a Valerie on every librarian who sincerely wants to have a good book fair. They are the life blood of the volunteer domain.

Two of our volunteers were new--everyone loves to have new volunteers come in. The more involved parents are, the better it is for everyone. Most children love to see their parents participate at school events. It means something.

Observations made over a week:

1. Someone put two little items on the cashier's desk on Monday. All the little ones whose heads peered above desk level picked up those items and asked what they were. I had to tell them I didn't know. They stayed there all week until Valerie's younger daughter found where one came from and replaced it (from a pre-school "first purse"). The little red flat coke can less than an inch long is still on top of that desk. The point I'm making is that honesty prevails in my school. Several children asked if they could have the items. I kindly said no because  I wanted to see how long they would remain.

2. Little ones in PreK-3 and -4 memorized where the books of their choice were located. When their parents came in with money, those children ran straight to those books to show them! I found that fascinating that they could remember something like that!

3. One second-grade boy wanted his mom to buy a CD-ROM, which he claimed would play on his DS unit. She didn't want to get it until she knew for sure. He was adamant that it would because it played on his cousin's. They returned the next day and found that it had been sold. He was so disappointed. Then they returned the next day to find out if any more had come in. They hadn't. That child was so disappointed. Yes, they can find it elsewhere, but Scholastic had put all their CD-ROMs on sale for $5. What is the point of this story? That children do know what they're talking about? Not always. That mothers are behind in their technology? Not all of them. That life has disappointments which we must learn to deal with? Yes, we know that's true. The fact is that I don't know what lesson was learned here. I know I was sad for both mother and son and wish I could have done something.

4. Children love books until about middle school, then they go one of two ways: They stop reading except when forced to read. I'm sad for them, too. The others commit to a lifetime of reading.

5. The most popular subjects sold were books about monsters. The fair carried several. In May when the Twilight series was the rage, I could have sold copies right and left. Not this time. Not one copy of any of the three in the series sold. I guess those who were interested had already read the books.

6. The most surprising book that we sold out of was Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson. I am delighted!

7. Another surprising "hit" was Humphrey's First Christmas, a story of one of the camels with the Three Wise Men. It's a wonderful, delightful children's illustrated book and certainly an unusual approach to the traditional Christmas story.

November 6, 2009

Four guessing contests sparked additional interest in the Fall 2009 Scholastic Book Fair. 
 Only boys won the four guessing contests.  In one large jar were 235 pieces of Italian vegetable rotini. Andrew, eighth grade, (far left) guessed 239. The most amazing win was by Noah, fourth grade (in the black t-shirt), who guessed 1200 Cuban Black Beans in a container. Other students guessed far far less. There were 1263. Skylar, sixth grade, guessed 222 for the American Southern Pecans. The actual number was 230. The winner of the fourth guessing game was Matt, fifth grade, (far right above) whose number 227 was really close to the actual 237 in a jar of Italian spinach garganelli. Each winner selected a book of his choice from the Book Fair.

The Original Post
October  26, 2009 

At last it is time for another Book Fair! Oh how I love a good book fair! For one thing, my library fund has only moth holes in it. Yes, that must be mentioned first, although the real reason I love fairs so much is the delight I take in seeing how much the children LOVE them! Many of them return again and again to buy another book. On the last day--the fifth day--they return to buy the doo-dads, I call them. I want them to buy books, absolutely, but the doo-dads are a thrill for them, too.

 I read an article not long ago in argument against the pencils and pens and keychains and diaries and bookmarks--Wait, diaries and bookmarks? Aren't they part of the reading/writing experience? Pens? Pencils? Pens with feathers on the end? Reminiscent of quill pens, maybe? I cannot think of a single argument against doo-dads, as many ARE book-related and sub-related. Besides, kids think of those things as treasures (maybe for a short while), adding to the idea of the Book Fair as a  magical place!

(Click here to read the blog about doo-dads.)

This year's theme for the Scholastic Book Fair is "Destination: Book Fair (Read Around the World)." That is basically my library theme for the year. Decorations are a done deal. Seven huge metal cases arrived today and are lining the office hall until Saturday, when I will open and arrange them, put out the doo-dads, and weave all the world-travel and culture themes throughout. I can hardly wait!

Give up my Saturday to set up a Book Fair? That's not work to me, although I go home exhausted from pushing and pulling those big cases, picking up and moving boxes of books. Climbing up and down a ladder to place things. But a good fatigue. I'll return Sunday just to look it over. For a bibliophile, walking into a book fair is the equivalent of walking into a chocolate factor for the chocoholic, or a bar for the alcoholic.

On my way out to go home in a while, I will drag a chair over to that line-up of cases and take a peek--or a full gaze--into those boxes. Can't wait to see what they've sent this year!

The office manager called me downstairs to ask if we should move the cases into a locked room, so we did. She is as much a book lover as I, so along the way of moving, we opened and oohed and aahed at bunches of books. We've got great variety again this year!

 Our area had serious rains and flooding on Friday. Schools were closed. 

I jumped at my opportunity and worked until 9 last night. A Book Fair in progress:   
Getting displays ready: Phase 1 
Phase 2 (with one of my most faithful volunteers)

No comments:

A favorite souvenir

A favorite souvenir
These are my two girls from Ireland!

Judy's shared items

Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)

  • *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
  • The Odd Women by George Gissing
  • The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
  • How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
  • The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
  • In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
  • Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
  • The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
  • Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
  • Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
  • Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
  • The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
  • Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  • Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
  • *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  • Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
  • *Ruined by Paula Morris
  • Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo
  • *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  • Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
  • *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
  • Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
  • *The Giver by Lois Lowery
  • *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski

School Library Journal - NeverEndingSearch


A semester course in one book about the Soviet Union. Click on image for my review.