Becoming financially responsible at the book fair

This post was written by Joanne Corrielus, the fall intern in the Corporate Communications department.

To help foster my love of reading at an early age, my parents bought me a bookcase to store all my beloved titles. Over the years, in addition to borrowing books from the local library, I had managed to buy stacks of titles from the Scholastic book fair, which quickly turned my room into what looked like a book warehouse! When my parents realized my book collection was expanding far beyond the capacity of my bookshelf they came up with a plan to help manage my book collection. My parents put me on a book budget.

Before my book budget, I was able to buy unlimited amount of books from my school book fair. However, with my new book budget in place I now had twenty dollars to use wisely. For my parents this book budget wasn’t a punishment, or a plan to get me to stop reading, they always encouraged my love of reading. For them, it was just a clever way to slow the pace down at which I added to my book collection—and a plot to help organize my room!

Attending the book fair on a budget, I quickly learned the importance of being financially responsible. Instead of buying every book in my sight, I had to sit back and reflect as to what books I really, truly wanted to purchase. I also got to put my math skills to the test. My goal at book fair was of course to still buy as many books as I could, however, that meant my mental math skills had to be sharp!

I’ll always remember my elementary school book fairs because they made me the conscience shopper that I am today. The skills I learned the book fairs have had a lasting impact on my life both in literacy and math. As I reflect on my own personal experience at the book fair and learning to budget, I asked my colleagues to share their favorite book fair memories. Here’s what they said:

Alex: Like most students, the book fair was one of the most exciting times of year for me! However, there was one time, when I was in third grade that I forgot to tell my parents the fair was scheduled so I didn’t have any money to buy books. Luckily I had just enough money left over from my lunch to buy a Clifford eraser. I remember loving that easer so much that I never actually used it to erase anything!  

Anushka: The book fair was always the best part of the school year! It was always such a tough decision for me to try and pick which two or three books I wanted out of all the options there. But one year I remember in particular was the year I found one of the ‘Give Yourself Goosebumps’ choose-your-own-adventure books on the shelves. I had read one of them from my school library and LOVED it, but I didn’t own any. So when I found one in the book fair I was totally over the moon!

Julia: The first book fair I ever attended was here at work… last year! We didn’t have them in my elementary school, something which I am retroactively very jealous of other kids for having been able to experience! I know I would have gone crazy in a fair, because I get kid-in-a-candy-store-itis in any kind of book sale scenario. And the Fairs themes are so fun. I did tons of shopping for my daughter and family members at the employee Fair we had last year. It was the best!

Michael:Growing up in a single-parent household, money was tight – so there was no guarantee that I would be able to buy books at every book fair. One fair moment made me a lifelong reader forever. I vividly remember a book fair happening on Grandparents Day. On this day, the whole school performed for our grandparents and had a special lunch with them. After the celebration, my grandma took me to the book fair and said I can pick any five books I wanted – since I “earned” it through chores. She knew it was hard for my mom to make ends meet, so she stepped in and helped me discover the joy of reading that day – and a big red dog named Clifford.