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The Joy of New Books


One of my fondest memories as a grade school kid, were book days. More specifically, Scholastic Book Club order sheet days, and Scholastic Book Fairs each year. I was reminded of this Monday night, while submitting an order at

Now, American kids growing up will probably remember Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs, but in case you're not from the US, here's a quick overview. Scholastic Book Clubs distribute book sheets with about 100 book selections (photos and descriptions) to participating US grade schools. Book sheets are given to students, who review the selections, choose books, and fill out the order form on the back page. Sheets are given back to the teacher for mass ordering. In a few weeks, all the books arrive, packed in cardboard.

Oh, I savored the Book Club order sheet each month. I'd carefully review the entire sheet several times, honing in on just the right books to buy (if I could afford them). I'd fill out my sheet and return it, then patiently anticipate delivery.

A few weeks later, our books would arrive, and there was happiness in the air! I loved the unwrapping ceremony, though I must admit it generally didn't last long. There was, and still is, something wonderful about unpacking a crisp new book.

The yearly Book Fairs were another long-awaited event. In our school, the library's reading tables would be stocked with books to browse. This was even better than a Book Club order sheet, because stacks of freshly printed books could be seen, touched and read. I remember spending lunch hour and time before and after school at the fairs, carefully choosing my purchases for the year.

I'm very grateful for this formative book experience. Scholastic, along with the reading atmosphere established by my mom and the stacks of titles we'd gather at the public library, built my enjoyment of books and reading. I sincerely hope I can pass along this same foundation to my son Nathan. He does love his books now, so I'm optimistic.

So what are your memories of books as a kid? Please feel free to share your own book memories that established a love of books in you in the comments area!

If you're curious, my latest book purchase included: Wil Wheaton's Just a Geek, Eric Brende's Better Off, and Chump Change, a comedy on DVD comparing Milwaukee and Hollywood. I can't wait to receive my packages from next week.

The unwrapping ceremony will live on. :-)

Reader Comments (2)

We had the same thing growing up. Our book fairs always took place in the lunchroom, and when we passed it in the morning on the way to class, and saw those bookshelves on wheels, we knew it was going to be a good day!

I remember trying to sneak something cool past my mom: a book with stickers, or a choose-your-own-adventure book. It was like trying to have potato chips with your vegetables. When it worked, it was awesome!

Book fairs were, to me, like Picture Day. You looked forward to the change in routine, and when that day came along, the atmosphere was electric.

September 29, 2004 | Unregistered Commentermacfixer
Thanks for the memories Kyle and Mary! I'm very excited about sharing books with Nathan... can't wait for the day he gets his very own library card. ;-)
October 1, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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