It is that time of year. I just spent two days transforming my library into a book fair. Hooray!
People LOVE book fairs. SO MANY adults share with me that their favorite memory of elementary school was the book fair. Kids begin asking as soon as the posters go up… Their little faces are nearly pressed against the glass looking in. They sneak in to shop when they should be in class, they sneak in when they should be in the lunch room, they sneak in when they tell their teacher they are going to the bathroom. They sneak in and they love it.
I tell the kids they do not have to buy books, that “Not to worry, I will get the good ones here and they can check them out of the library,” and I give them a book mark, or perhaps an erasure, maybe a pencil. No one leaves unhappy.
The actual book fair is so festive. There is usually a theme of some sort, last spring it was Camping and this fall it is Enchanted – complete with unicorns, trolls and castles. Parents peruse the fair with “wish lists” in their hands, “Where is the Narwhal and Jelly Jolt book?” Whole families shop together, analyzing books, negotiating and narrowing down those wish lists. Kids run in and out. Kids on their way to a evening soccer game or Boy Scout meeting. Kids with parents for their student-led conferences. Report cards in hand, a pile of books on the counter.
I am not going to lie and say it is not scary crazy sometimes. Because it is. Tables stretch into every corner, piled with books and science kits and Harry Potter water bottles and wands. Crowds of parents, students, toddlers and bored older siblings navigate the maze of tables groaning under the weight of books. What I call the “toy center” is right up near me, little things have a way of walking away. It draws the kids like bees to the honey. It is crowded and happy, but I keep a close eye while adding up books and ringing in credit card orders.
Yes. It is crazy. Yes. It is busy. Yes, I am usually exhausted when it is over. Yes. The work that goes in before hand, from set-up to take down is physically hard work. But Yes… it is Joyous. Fun. It is building memories for those kids and what could be better?