I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today.
Who remembers going to Scholastic Book Fairs when they were younger?
Those things were the best, right? I am so glad they’re still around, because they were a highlight of my school year. I still remember that moment when it felt like books were going to go digital and I remember one of my concerns being these book fairs… so many kids would want to go just to get out of class and go, and they’d find a book and it would change everything. Not that it is an impossible stretch in a technologically driven world, but there’s something special about a hallway or study room being transformed into a pop-up book store.
I have such fun memories of going down with my friends. There were always those who, or course, would go for the knick-knacks and baubles. I admit to buying a fancy pencil eraser or two in my time (they were all the rage in the 90s). Those things were classroom currency and always good to have with your extra nickels and dimes.
But the books, guys. I was there for the books. As many as I could get.
My family did not have a lot of spending money – we didn’t go on vacations unless it was camping (and then, not until I was older) or sponsored by a grandparent. We only got new clothes at the beginning of the school year or in moments of absolute need. My parents ran their cars into the ground… then duct taped them together and drove them another couple years. But they always gave me a little money for the Scholastic Book Fair. For whatever qualms I may have with my family from time to time, they have always supported my reading.
Scholastic Book Fairs were for me, like Christmas. I gobbled up stories like I needed them to live, and these Fairs introduced me to new and exciting things I would not have found otherwise.
I got Captain Underpants! Animorphs! Saddle Club Special Editions! Shel Silverstein! I could get a handful of books for less than $10, a modern miracle, and I would guard those treasures with a fiery passion. My mother and I would spend a week pouring over the catalogue, making a plan.
Oh man guys, remember when books were just $0.95? Scholastic Book Fairs are the best! Are prices still that low?
We’d circle the books, figure out the best plan for the most books under the amount my parents allotted me. Admittedly, there was some begging and whining because I wanted all of them… but we got there in the end. In my school, the different classrooms were assigned different times they could go, and I’d
run walk down with my friends and we’d just dive in.
It was wonderful.
To this day, I still have a few books from the time of Scholastic Book Fairs. While I outgrew many, there were a handful of old favorites that I’ve clung on to over the years. All of these I still have, with the exception of Paperquake, which did not pass the Great Bookcase Crusade challenge last year.
While I know that these are all middle grade books, I just can’t make myself say goodbye. There’s something special about these nostalgic stories, the books that have been with me from childhood. It’s almost like I can revisit that fresh, excited feeling when I pick them up off the shelf.
One of my absolute favorite things about BookCon last year was this same feeling – displays and displays of books, whispering to me to pick them up, buy them. Are there pop-up bookshops for adults? If not, someone should tap into this nostalgia a la the book van from The Bookshop on the Corner and get on top of that.
Did you go to a Scholastic Book Fair as a kid? If so, what are your memories around the event? If not, do you think you would have enjoyed it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!