by Lisa Tome
When Janie Hadley left Cecil Manor Elementary School last week, her change purse was empty.
Hadley, a parent volunteer at the school's book fair, doled out nickels and dimes to students who forgot to account for sales tax when they were making their book selections.
"I emptied out my change purse paying the tax. They are excited to buy the book they picked out," said Hadley. "It's great working at the book fair. You get to let your inner child out working the cash register. And it's nice to see the books that kids are interested in."
Book fair time makes for a busy school media center. Cecil Manor media specialist Rosemary Meece said that the school hosts Scholastic book fairs twice a year. She works to schedule the event so it coincides with parent/teacher conference. That way parents can buy Christmas gifts and shop without their children.
Popular books this fall for children in Pre-K through second grade were books from Cartoon Network shows. The character Chima also had a lot of young fans.
Meece said students have a day to browse the fair and make a wish list. They have another day to buy if they wish.
"The princess books and Barbie books are what the little girls want. Some of the older kids like novels. Older girls like journals and diaries with locks. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is also popular," said Meece. A surprise sell out item this year was the "Dude Diary", a journal with a lock for boys. Older girls also like books about surviving tragic events such as earthquakes.
Meece said the role of volunteers at the fair cannot be overlooked. "The volunteers do pretty much everything. They help students find something that is within their budget. They also work the register," said Meece. "They are so patient with the kids."
Nina Philhower was one of those who signed on to help.
"This is my first time ever volunteering. I am getting such a high off it that I may do it again," said Philhower. "I get to be kind of a teacher. The kids are beyond excited to buy books. They feel a little more grown up."
Book fairs can be lucrative for schools. Meece anticipated that Cecil Manor would clear $1,500 - $2,000. Half of the proceeds are used to buy databases, including an online encyclopedia for the school. The rest of the money is used to buy "fun" books for the library.