The questions started even before their coats were off this morning.
“When do we go? When do we shop”
“When can we go to the Book Fair?”
Thankfully, I only needed to survive until 9:30 with my distracted class before I could give them what they craved…shopping time in the hallway at the Book Fair.
Here is a rundown of my shoppers and their style…
The Savvy–kids armed with enough money to buy a couple of good books but had permission to buy a toy. They were on the lookout for a good deal on a book in order to maximize the amount left over to buy The Toy.
The Literals–kids holding tightly to their four dollars and looking only at books that cost exactly four dollars…because they had four dollars.
The Scrapers–kids with a handful of coins from their piggy banks hoping that they had enough to buy themselves a precious book–any book.
The Dreamers–kids with two dollars who couldn’t tear themselves away from the table with twenty dollar books.
The Helpers–kids who didn’t bring any money (or had shopped earlier with their parents) who secretly picked out titles with me that we can get for our classroom.
The Ditherers–kids who picked out fifteen different books that would be delightful choices but couldn’t make the final decsion and buy The One.
The UnMoved–kids who followed me closely asking for advice and help picking out a good book and then proceeded to refuse every single title I pointed out.
And…The Grateful–kids who carefully looked over each case and picked something just right that will be treasured and read cover to cover.
The Book Fair is a delightful mix of conversations about finding wonderful titles to add to home collections or our classroom, conversations about money management and making change, and conversations about how books are better than posters or toys. (Even the puppy posters.) There are always kids who are in tears because they want something expensive and can’t make their money stretch. There are also always kids who offer to share their money with a classmate who doesn’t quite have enough to get the book they want.
But above all, the Book Fair brings exclamations of delight over BOOKS. Big conversations and debates around choosing BOOKS. Favorite authors are discussed, titles are recommended up and down the hallway, and new discoveries are shouted out to classmates. And at the end of our half hour of shopping, we troop back to our classroom, treasures in hand, and for the next few minutes noses are buried in new books all around the room.
I’m grateful for the chance we have to enjoy the Book Fair at my school. For about 20 minutes or so, my kids are in seventh heaven in a store just for them, surrounded by books. I hope it will be a memory they will look on fondly when they are grown…and they will continue to seek out that joy by looking for wonderful bookstores where they can be surrounded by books and choose treasures once again.