10 Things We Loved About School Book Fairs

by Amy Sachs

The elementary school years of brown bags lunches, gel pens, and recess were a simpler time, for sure. They were the years of having books read to you, and time set aside for you each day for library browsing and independent reading. Sure, we found our own elementary school dramas even then, but looking back, it was a pretty good time.

And all the reading time? Supplemented by those amazing Scholastic ads that got passed around once a month. Once everyone had taken one, passed them around, at least 10 minutes were spent distracted by the contents of those magical flyers. Books, arts and crafts, toys! The possibilities were endless, and you carried them home feeling hopeful.

Even better than that, though, was when those flyers came to life before your very eyes. I'm talking about the elementary school wonderland that was the Scholastic Book Fair. All those books and toys from the catalog were laid out right there in front of you, money from your parents tucked carefully away in your pocket.

The possibilities, to our 8-year-old minds, were vast, but one thing was for sure: we were rarely there for just the books. It was everything else that held our interest, like these 10 things that we still kind of miss!

The Possibilities

Going to school the day of the Book Fair was was always more fun than a normal day: you knew what was ahead! Something to break up the day between Social Studies and Math.

The Novelty of a Classroom Transformed

Your boring auditorium or classroom, typically used for the most mundane school activities, was transformed into a book emporium, ready and waiting for you! Just look how nice it looks this way!

The '90s "Tech"

Or "gadgets" as our 1990s minds knew them. No Apple Watches for us, but then again, we didn't need those: there were bins and bins of key chains, stationery, and anything else an elementary school kid might (and might not) need. There were certain things you could only get at the Scholastic Book Fair. Like the triangle pencil grips you lost after that day.

All of the Posters

You didn't know your room was missing a kitten poster, but then you saw one. Suddenly you had to have one! And, is that a Harry Potter poster over there?! The choices were vast, and suddenly everything looked like it was meant for you. It's like they knew they were dealing with elementary school kids or something.

Your Friends Might Be There

If you got there at the same time as a friend from another class, it was like a bonus. A midday reunion before lunch time? Yes!

Tons of Scary Books

The Book Fair was always the place to get Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Goosebumps books that you would inevitably end up reading in a group later on, completely pretending that you weren't scared. Until you went to bed that night, of course. Most of us are probably still scared of those books, come to think of it.

The Treasure Trove of Pens and Pencils

Pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners in the shape of things — it was all there, neatly arranged in bins, just waiting for you. Actually, if you ask someone what they remember most about the Book Fair from then they were kids, I can guarantee "cool pens and pencils" comes up more than any other answer.

The Bookmarks

So many bookmarks, so little time. The books you were buying were probably not even long enough to really need a bookmark, but you know you bought them anyway.

The Cool Learning Sets

Everyone turned into a scientist when these came out.

The Arts & Crafts

Coloring books, sticker books, water color books, you name it, they had it.

Image: Cindy Kilpatrick, Samantha Tarldona Setzler/Flickr; Scholastic (3) Giphy (7)