The absolute best day of the year for a book worm in elementary school was the day that the Scholastic Book Fair came to town. Weeks before, I would meticulously go through the book fair catalog, circling all the things I would later beg my mom to buy for me. (Every single Baby-Sitter’s Club chapter book). The library was turned into a giant bookstore, and I could not get enough.
Thankfully, the Scholastic Book Fair is still around!
Despite smart phones, tablets, and laptops dominating our daily lives, there is still something so exciting about the arrival of the book fair at school. However, one mom noticed something a little different about her kids’ schools book fair, wondering if the inventory to shop from has always been this way or something new.
After volunteering in her kid’s classroom, helping kids pick out their “wish list” for the book fair, she noticed several kids were skipping books all together when compiling their lists.
“Every parent volunteer, every teacher was like, ‘We have to put real books down. We have to have books from the book fair.’ Like, did we have this when we were kids? I don’t remember,” she asked before diving into a rant about all the new “junk” that the book fair offers to kids to buy.
“I remember posters. I remember pencils, maybe bookmarks. I don’t remember like, squishy pens, 50,000 fuzzy journals, a Lego mini-figure little activity book. Every non-reading giant display of junk that I don’t want in my house. My kids don’t need it,” she vented.
She continued, noting that her frustration mounted when her kids would initially have a book in their hands, ready to buy, but suddenly become distracted by something non-book related.
“If they just have books, they’ll get books like I don’t understand. I’d help the kids and they’d be looking at the books and then they would go and they would see something that wasn’t a book and then that’s all they wanted to get,” she explained.
“Like, do I make a petition? Can schools choose not to show it? Is part of the deal that Scholastic, you have to display everything? … How do we fix this? Because I do not need to spend $14.99 on a fuzzy journal at the book fair. I don’t want it in my life.”
After the video went viral, several TikTok users agreed with Sarah’s opinion. However, others were not so quick to jump on the “books only” bandwagon.
“Truly what difference does it make though? I was born in early 90s and book fairs back then were the same,” one user wrote.
Another said, “I volunteer at the book fair every year as well and the fun cheap stuff is the most some kids can afford. The books are SO expensive. 😢🥺”
The OP replied, “Honestly the things kids were putting on their wishlist were more expensive than the books! I don’t know if we had a better book selection or what”
Another echoed, “In our area, those small things are the only things some can afford. My son surprised his sister with a squishy thing.”
“Sorry I was not clear in this video, the things that frustrated me were more expensive than the books- the toy set ones,” Sarah clarified.
Some users were very pro-junk at the book fair, noting that the non-book stuff was the “best part.”
“Junk is the fun part! I’ll buy them books somewhere else,” one user wrote.
“BUT the ‘junk’ makes writing inviting and that is important too!” another pointed out.
According to others in the comment section, a school does not have to put out all of the other, “non-book” stuff.
“You can just not put the junk out! My school only puts the junk out in the evenings when parents come with their kids to the book fair,” one user wrote.
An elementary principal said, “As an elementary principal, our media specialists requests the junk not be sent. We always still get a limited amount and we just don’t display it.”
Honestly, after Scholastic has been in hot water for easily allows schools to opt our of diverse book selections, they might get put on notice.