by Lisa Tome
Within 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, Virginia Peirce had snapped up gifts for four people on her Christmas list.
Peirce, a mom of four, did some of her shopping at the annual Calvert Elementary School book fair.
"I bought for my nephews and my daughters. I don't really go into book stores and I like supporting the school," said Peirce. Some of her purchases were for report card rewards. Others will be put away for Christmas.
Media specialist Connie Seibert coordinates the book fair.
Her focus is books. The book company providing the materials often includes extras - posters, bookmarks, and small toys for children to buy. Seibert said she won't put out any that costs more than $1 unless it's time for parents to shop. She wants students to buy books.
Prior to the fair, a schedule of book buying times goes home to parents. They are also reminded in the school newsletter. There is also an online book fair. Seibert also works to promote the event, sharing books that will be for sale with students before the fair starts.
She said that books that have more than one story inside are popular. Power Rangers, Barbie, and princess/fairy characters are perennial favorites. The "I Survived" series, which deals with natural phenomenon such as earthquakes, was also a big seller.
Michaela Bocklage took four children, two of her own, to the fair. "They want everything. It's fun to shop here," said Bocklage.
Lydia Mack is the mother of six children. "My kids always get books for Christmas and these are good books. This is a good value," said Mack.
The fair is also a good value for the school. Seibert said that the Scholastic company gives the school options of how to spend book fair proceeds. "All of the proceeds go back to the school. I can get books for the library or digital databases for the school. That's my purpose that this benefits all the kids in the school," said Seibert. "Holding the book fair is challenging but it's exciting to put books in the hands of students. They get excited when I say it's your book to keep forever."
Sherry Willis serves in more than one capacity at the fair. She volunteers - helping with set up, sales, and more. She was also paying up last week. Her son, Logan, a fourth grader, had earned good grades during the first marking period. As a reward, he got a poster to hang in his bedroom.
"It is affordable here. They have books for $1 and $1.99. There are also a lot of good value books in packs of three," said Sherry Willis.
Susan Cressman is a second grade teacher at the school. Her children attend a Delaware elementary school. Cressman buys books for herself at Calvert but also doles out money for her kids to buy at their school. "They like to buy their own," said Cressman.
Cheryl Russell teaches second grade at the school. She was buying non-fiction books for her classroom library. Russell and other teachers will also be receiving books from the fair. Teachers prepare a "wish list". Parents can contribute books for classrooms if they want to do so.