Book fair still brings joy after two decades

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Managing Editor

Students at Greystone Elementary participated in one of my favorite school activities in early October – the book fair.

It’s been years since I visited a book fair; decades may be more accurate. However, I still remember the anxious anticipation of waiting for my turn to visit the book fair as a child.

So I was delighted to find a new generation of book lovers at Greystone Elementary.

First grader Katie Laney, who was planning to buy a “magic fairy book,” shared my enthusiasm.

“I really like (the book fair) because I really enjoy books,” she said. “It’s just fun to read.”

I never noticed as a child, but the book fair also encourages children to use other skills, including math and decision-making. I watched Greystone Elementary Librarian Julie Richey and several volunteers help students make their selections and stay within their budgets.

“They’re all excited. This is always the highlight of the fall,” Richey said. “It helps the kids build their own little collection for the summer.

The most popular books have changed since the last time I made a purchase at the book fair. “Pete the Cat” and “I Funny” have replaced “Goosebumps” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

These days, book fairs not only foster a love of reading in students, they also help support the library.

Richey said the biannual book fairs are basically the only of income for the library, after the state cut its funding about six years ago.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the potential books have to change lives. I’d like to say thanks to Julie Riche and her volunteers for encouraging a love of reading in the next generation of students.

Katie McDowell is the managing editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at