For over 25 years, Scholastic Book Fairs have been delighting children, parents, teachers, principals and school librarians. They encourage a love of reading within a fun environment where a child can pick and choose his or her own books, indulging themselves into a love of mystery, history, scientific experiments and science fiction – and so much more. It brings the convenience of a bookstore right to the school. Let’s take a look back at this traditional school activity.
Book fairs were an exiting time, whether they occurred every month, twice a year or even just once a year. It was a chance for kids to read exactly what they wanted to, a chance for them to bring the book home to share with their family, and the ability to read the book over and over – with no need to return it to the library. Book fairs were also among some of the first shopping choices kids were allowed to make all (well, mostly) on their own.
First, a newsprint listing (along with pictures of the highlighted books) would be sent home with each student. Pouring over each and every page that looked interesting, kids chose which books they wanted to read, begged the person with the biggest pockets for the money (or even broke into the coveted piggy banks, when all else failed), and when that special day came, marched over and proudly claimed their book. Book fairs didn’t always happen with rows and rows of tables. Scholastic eventually introduced a book ordering form, allowing kids to make their book choices, fill out the form and voila, the books would appear in the classroom a couple of weeks later.
And the tradition continues today. From school to school, from classroom to classroom, teachers, librarians and even principals work tirelessly to make sure kids have the opportunities to bring home the magic of reading. Book fairs have been a part of popular culture for decades, allowing publishers to bring new books to the public, a chance for libraries to let go of some of their extra books and the opportunity to promote literacy through speaking engagements. All in all, book fairs are really about fostering a love of reading, a love of exploring, and a love of sharing. For once you learn to read, there is no subject that you cannot tackle, no interest you cannot pursue. It’s an invaluable service to the community and to the students that participate. And for that, Scholastic deserves a pat on the back.
If you have fond memories of attending book fairs as a child, we’d love to hear your recollections in our comments section. And, if you happen to remember the titles of any of the books you purchased, we’d love to hear that too, as we pay tribute to this fine tradition.