It’s Scholastic Book Fair week at my school library. I just came home from our evening parent event.
Yep. I’m tired.
Usually, I lead a small skeleton crew on Book Fair night. We assume battle positions, marshalling the stamina to withstand a standing room only assault. “Can we add these to bookmarks to the total?” “Oh, I decided I don’t want that.” “What are these springy things on the end of this pencil?” “Are you sure you don’t have any more copies of Spongebob on Mars?” “I want a refund. We don’t allow books with wizards.” Ugh.
Tonight was different.
I had a slew of dedicated parent and staff volunteers to work the event. Instead of ringing up purchases all night, I actually got to enjoy my book fair. I watched parents reading to their children. I helped with reader’s advisory. I shared cookies with co-workers. I laughed.
It was Book Fair Bliss.
From my relaxed position in the trenches, I also marked the trend in book sales. The books flying off the shelves had much in common.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Encyclopedia of Immaturity, and Dude: The Book of Crazy Immature Stuff sold well. The kids couldn’t get enough titles with booger jokes and lunchroom rants.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and Mary Downing Hahn’s All the Lovely Bad Ones sold equally well. Adventure with thrills and chills drove kids to the checkout counter. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that Rick visited our school when The Lightning Thief first came out; my students still haven’t forgotten it.)
Our biggest book fair hit? The 39 Clues. This series sold like hotcakes. At IHOP. If you haven’t read them, catch up with the Cahills quickly. The fifth installment, The Black Circle by Patrick Carman, hit stores this past month. Each new caper enchants with history, mystery, and interactive adventure.
Fun. Thrilling. Interactive. This is fast becoming the new mantra of fresh fiction. All of the bestsellers at the fair either made readers laugh, made them shiver, or made them participate. The 39 Clues series wins the trifecta of 2.0 reader engagement by accomplishing all three.
Here’s our 10 second “Get a Clue, Buy a Book” promo for the fair. Gee, isn’t that a good looking kid in the video? I wonder who his mother is…
Ah, Book Fair Bliss. Tonight, I enjoyed the transactions at the fair. I didn’t witness the richest ones at the cash register. Instead, I saw the exchange occur between the smiles of young readers and the words on the page.
Here’s the recipe for my Bliss Bars. We enjoyed these oo-ey, goo-ey sweets at the fair. They’re yummy and (blissfully) easy to make.
1/2 cup real butter
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup milk choc. chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet choc. chips
1 cup coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Heath or Skor toffee bits
Melt the butter, pour into a 9 by 13 pan. Layer the rest of the ingredients in the order above. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy the bliss.