The best selling item from this fall’s Inly Book Fair is…….drumroll…….an eraser shaped like an iPhone! Kids are walking around school pretending to talk into very small phones and my patient colleagues are finding phones all over their classrooms. Although we try not to sell many of the “toys” Scholastic sends along with the books, there are always a few inexpensive things I can’t resist making available. This fall one of those items is an admittedly cool eraser. Here’s the justification for selling hundreds of tiny cell phone erasers: think of the new books we can purchase because of a successful book fair. I even bought one myself!
The book fair has been really successful. We are selling more books than erasers, and the kids are excited about the selection. They keep coming back and adding one more title to their wish lists and there is a steady hum of enthusiastic conversations about books. We are selling lots of copies of Grace Lin’s two beautiful novels: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky. As always books about animals, especially strange and predatory and scary-looking animals, are selling. Sometimes a student wants to show me a picture from one of these books, and I quickly pretend that there is another customer who needs assistance. I just don’t want to see a “Man-Eating Goonch from the Kali River.” We are selling lots of books about Fancy Nancy and the Pigeon and Olivia and Rocket, the dog who wrote his own story.
The best part of the book fair is talking with kids who are looking for something new to read. They might have just begun to read more challenging books or be ready to learn about something – or someone – new. There is a whole shelf of the popular “Who Was” series of biographies, and I’ve heard a few kids say “I wondered who Steve Jobs was.” They don’t realize it, of course, but Jobs has already had an influence on their young lives. These are the same kids clutching their iPhone shaped erasers!