Book Fair Fun!

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Yesterday felt like a twelve- hour party in the Inly Library. Literally, there were very few moments in a long day (which stretched into the evening) when there was not a group of kids or parents looking at books. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable way to spend twelve hours!  Among the highlights of the day were:

– talking with the parent of a first grader about why their child should have a copy of Dr. DeSoto

– explaining to a third grader why I don’t think The Hunger Games was a great choice for him

– hearing a conversation between two second grade girls about which “Magic Kitten” was the cutest

– and one of the week’s best moments: a child buying a book from the library shelves. It went through the register as a purchase before we all realized what happened!

Here are some pictures from the week, including a wonderful scene of kids counting their money to make sure they could pay for their books. Of course, they had no idea that tax would be added!

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Here’s the stack I took to the check-out desk:


I bought Bliss because so many students keep telling me how wonderful it is and there were all of those glowing reviews! When I’m done, the school can use another copy…

Sonya Hartnett’s book, The Silver Donkey, was on my list because her writing is so beautiful, and The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde looks really fun – and seems like it could have potential classroom use.

The big sellers were this summer’s all-school reads. Like many schools, we select a book for each level so that the students have a shared reading experience during the summer. Over the next few weeks, the reading list will be ready and they will have lots of choices, but for now only the main book for each level has been revealed:

Toddler House – Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham


Children’s House – The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza

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Lower Elementary – The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino


Upper Elementary – Dumpling Days by Grace Lin


Middle School – Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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 Happy Book Shopping!




Book Fair Week!

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Today was the first day of the spring book fair – and by 10:00 this morning, it was clear what the big sellers would be: Legos, and Mercy Watson, and Big Nate, and Humphrey and any books that have cute puppies on the cover. The contents of a book could be the history of watching grass grow, but if there’s a puppy on the cover, some of the kids will pick it up. You can’t blame them!

The company responsible for this week’s festivities is Book Fairs by Book Ends, a book fair managed by Book Ends, an independent store in Winchester, Massachusetts. They began in 2005, at a time when (in their words) “few choices existed in the school book fair marketplace.”  They refer, of course, to the big elephant in the book fair room – Scholastic. Inly has had lots of Scholastic fairs, but Book Fairs by Book Ends has a completely different “feel.”  The selection is better edited – and there are no books about Justin Bieber! As one of our teachers said, “this book fair feels like Inly.” 

This week is also the first time our students have had a chance to see what their “official” summer reading books are, and as far as I could tell, they seem pretty excited about them. Here’s what our students will be reading while they’re at the beach this summer:

Toddlers –                                    

Freight Train by Donald Crews

Children’s House –                

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Kindergarten/1st Grade-

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra

2nd and 3rd Grade –

How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills

Upper Elementary –

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Middle School –

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Another day of playing store begins in less than 12 hours.  Stay tuned for more updates from the sales floor…


A Report from the Book Fair

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As I write this, two boys are looking at the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records and two girls are looking at novels which feature cupcakes on their pink covers. This moment is repeated many times during the day. It’s book fair week which is always a good time to see what’s capturing the attention of 2nd graders (snakes and dogs) and 5th graders (cupcakes and record breakers).

This is a “new” book fair for Inly. We are working with Book Fairs by Book Ends, a company which offers an “alternative” to the more commercially-driven Scholastic. Our students and parents are happy to try something new. The books are not based on TV programs, and happily, there is not one Twilight novel. In fact, now that I think about it, vampires appear only in the Halloween books.

Okay – this really happened. I was just interrupted from posting this because a student wanted to pay for her books. Here’s what she bought: It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder and Katie and the Cupcake Cure by Coco Simon. Guess what I’m craving right now…

I’ve started my own pile (supporting the library!) and here’s what’s in it – so far:

Composed by Rosanne Cash (yes, they have books for adults too – and I am a big fan of Roseanne Cash)

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (a story about a family in Vermont who hires illegal Mexican farm workers. The reviews made me think this could be a good book for some of my middle school students to read.)

China: Land of Dragons and Emperors by Adeline Yen Mah (so much about China I don’t know – and feel like I should. I loved Mah’s book, Chinese Cinderella and didn’t know about this one until I saw it in the fair)

One Big Rain: Poems for Rainy Days compiled by Rita Gray (very excited about this. I don’t like rain, but love poems about rain)

Here’s a poem about fall – from Gray’s book:

The Mist and All by Dixie Wilson

I like the fall.

The mist and all.

I like the night owl’s

Lonely call.

And wailing sound

Of wind around.

I like the gray.

November day.

And bare, dead boughs

That coldly sway

Against my pane.

I like the rain.

I like to sit

And laugh at it-

And tend

My cozy fire a bit.

I like the fall –

The mist and all.