If anything ever excited me for school, it was the arrival of the Scholastic Book Fair. For one week each semester, the Scholastic Book Fair would visit my elementary school and set up shop in the media center. It was truly a spectacle to walk through the main hall and pass by the media center just to see huge mobile cardboard pop-ups inhabiting the space, crammed with new books and other treasures that featured the most colorful characters and subjects. Teachers knew just how much we kids looked forward to the fair, too, as they (or by extension, Scholastic) always supplied us with catalogs in anticipation. It was the closest thing to Christmas besides Christmas itself, and I lived for marking up my catalog with every last item that I wanted. The trick was convincing my mom that everything I circled in it was absolutely necessary to buy.
I cannot stress enough just how much I looked forward to this event as a child. It’s not an overstatement to say it was all I thought about when it was in town. The moment the last class of the day let out, I made a beeline for the media center just to get a glimpse of all the new merchandise. Of course, being the responsible adult that I am, I must acknowledge that what I looked forward to the most were the new toys, posters, and miscellaneous accessories that the fair boasted. Even the catalogs weren’t so subtle about their newest, shiniest toy offerings – and really looking back, there was probably a significant imbalance of actual books versus the plethora of specialty bundles (most of which were featured front and center on the first page). It does seem that over the years, parents took notice of the overabundance of goodies and voiced their concern. Not only was more emphasis placed on reading in both the catalogs and the fair itself, but the toy selections became more limited to make room for fun yet essential school supplies.
It’s been quite some time since I was an elementary schooler, so I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the Scholastic Book Fair still exists and is still going strong! According to Scholastic’s website, the Scholastic Book Fair has been active for over 30 years, selling “more than 55 million books to 70 million children and families visiting more than 120,000 fairs” worldwide. Each host school also receives a portion of the fair’s earnings which helps to fund educational resources and necessities.
In fact, the fair is next set to visit my childhood school, Gorman Crossing Elementary, from March 22-March 29! I may just be a little envious of those elementary schoolers, but I’m ecstatic to know the fair’s still around. Who knows, maybe I’ll have kids of my own that will someday get to experience the same rush and exhilaration as I did: scribbling over their catalogs and shoving other children – ehm – walking nicely but briskly to the fair to get a first look at all the wonders it contains. They’d better be able to make a good case for the toys, that’s for sure.