November 23, 2009

Subject: Book Fair Confessions

While many people in the Children's Literature community spent last week at the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Philadelphia, I attended a different sort of literary event, working as a cashier at the Book Fair for my daughter’s elementary school.
Do you remember getting those newsprint flyers for Scholastic Book Orders when you were a kid? Helping out at book fair always reminds me of the joy I felt when my teacher handed out those order forms. I would spend the entire bus ride home circling my choices, and then I would eagerly wait for the books to arrive.

(Confession #1: Even now, I can’t wait for my daughter’s order forms to come home once a month.)

The Scholastic Book Fair brings those flyers to life. Our school library was transformed into a veritable bookstore. We sold everything from Jerry Pinkney’s beautiful new picture book, The Lion and the Mouse, to posters of cute puppies.

(Confession #2: I’ve always fantasized about owning a bookstore. This was my chance, for a couple of days, to shelve books, talk books, sell books.)

And what fun Book Fair was! Mad rushes at lunch recess to purchase bookmarks and pencils before the bell. Baggies filled with pennies, nickels, and dimes, oh my! Children buying Christmas presents for their teachers and siblings. Happy faces over stacks of crisp, new paperback books.

(Confession #3: Of course, I added to my stack of reading while I was there…)

That should hold me over for a while… Happy Reading!

By the way, you can click over to Jane Yolen's journal entry for a complete report on NCTE fun in Philadelphia.