Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Fair Mea Culpa

The books I bought at the school book fair.

Classics, good.
Elephant and Piggie, good.
Lego and Star Wars, bad.
I was wrong.  I was $205.20 wrong.  That's how much I spent at the school book fair.  (To justify it to myself,  I donated some of the books I purchased to either the school library or my daughters' classroom libraries.)  The quality of the books was, overall, top-notch.  Yes, there were the usual character-driven books, especially for boys (Star Wars, Ninja-something-or-other, Lego).  But the vast majority were high-quality books (both in terms of literary and physical quality, both of which are lacking with Scholastic book fairs), including both classics and new releases, including many of which I, who spends her days reading book reviews, book blogs and scouring bookstores, had never seen or heard of before.  The book fair was run by Main Street Book Company, a book fair company, which gets books from many different publishers.  It even provided a few adult titles, including cookbooks, which I thought was a nice touch.  Main Street Book Company is apparently also a provider of specifically Jewish book fairs as well.  Who knew?  I didn't even know that such companies existed.  For those of you seeking to improve your own school book fairs, the parent-organizers of ours told me they were very pleased with the service.

Full reviews will have to wait, as we haven't had a chance to even read them yet, but here's what I bought for ourselves and some initial thoughts:

Greek Myths by Ann Turnbull.  I'm particularly excited about this well-reviewed collection of Greek myths, as it fills a gap in our home library.  I may also supplement it with this version for younger children.

My five-year-old's wish list
The Barefoot Book of Mother and Daughter Tales by Josephine Everts-secker.  I'm intrigued.  And their books are always so beautiful.

The Barefoot Book of Father and Daughter Tales by Josephine Everts-secker.  Ditto.

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives  by Lola Schaefer.  As I paged through this quickly between my two parent-teacher conferences, I worried that this beautiful book might be too simplistic for my math lover.  But then I spied the notes at the end, which explain  concepts like averages, and decided to go for it.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock.  All I had to see was "library" in the title and I was sucked in.  Not to mention it was on my five-year-old's wish list.

My five-year-old's wish list, continued
My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein.  My husband and the father of my children does think he's funny.  And he is.  How could I resist?

The Relatives Came  by Cynthia Rylant.  A classic.  And so much better than the early readers she seems to churn out daily.

About Time: A First Look at Time and Clocks by Bruce Koscielniak.  Perfect for my daughter who's interested in time and time zones.  I don't know this author at all but his other books look equally fascinating, including one about Gutenberg and the printing press.

AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis.  Another book in which Z complains about being last.  Look for an upcoming post about a 200+ year-old version of this lament.

Winter Trees by Carole Gerber.  This beautiful book looks like a nice complement to the equally stunning Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow, which I recently purchased.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri.  A classic.

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows.  By the same author as the Ivy and Bean series.  Selected by my 8-year-old.

So, what did you or your children buy at their school book fair this year?


  1. Do you not have D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths? That's the gold standard.

    1. No, it was a bit too hard for the kids - not just the vocabulary but the context. We need an introductory version before we make that leap.

  2. I'm so pleased to see you have an Australian author there! (Katrina Germein) I quite like the LEGO Star Wars book if it's the DK one I'm thinking of - The Yoda Chronicles? I think it's the sort of book that boys in particular who think they don't like to read may approach with less suspicion, and it makes an excellent model for teachers teaching non-fiction text types!

  3. Your books are so amazing! I really enjoy and got more information Thank you so much for this great book Fair

  4. We loved the combination of the onsite and online bookfair. The combination was easy to use and gave our parents more flexibility to support our bookfair. I loved the option of having our online orders delivered to our school free of shipping. This service was greatly appreciated by many of our families, allowing them to feel they could order more books through the online book fairs