Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Fair Fiesta

The Book Fair has arrived and with a bit of effort, it has been set up and is ready for the first shoppers.

I was very lucky to have gotten the Book Fair delivered before the bad weather hit my area.  A couple of other Media Specialists who were scheduled to have their Book Fair delivered on the same day just missed their delivery by a few hours because the roads were getting too slick for the truck to get through.

While this saved me some stress of having to reschedule, I still had to make plans to get to my school and get set up, all while everyone was supposed to be on a snow day because the roads were still very slick. Luckily I was able to make it to my school safely and get things set up in about 6 hours.

I even had help from a teacher at my school who also braved the roads to check on her class pets.

This is my seventh Book Fair, so I have things pretty well down pat by now, learning what to do and what not to do from past Book Fairs.


1) Schedule the Book Fair from Friday to Friday to ensure that it will be delivered in time to do a Preview Day the Friday before.  (Thanks to Mrs. ReaderPants for this tip, and many others.  You can read her tips here.)

2)  Attend a Book Fair workshop.  You not only get some great ideas for your Book Fair, but you also earn 25 Scholastic dollars.

3)  Do as much as you can before-hand.  Make copies of Book Fair letters, print posters and make decorations....whatever you can do ahead of time, do it.

4)  Recruit volunteers.  You can do it on your own, but it is so much easier with help, especially when it comes to decorating, setting up, and taking down the fair.

5)  Thank volunteers. If you want them to come back, be sure to thank your volunteers in some $5 in free books from the Book Fair or some other small thank you gift.  Showing your appreciation is not only the polite and right thing to do, but it will ensure that you have ready volunteers in the future.

6)  Plan some type of family event.  We do a family event at night so that parents who can't come during the day can visit/shop.  We are planning a STEM night for this Book Fair.  We did the same kind of thing in November and it was a big hit.  The kids loved having something to take home with them and parents were in a good mood to shop afterwards because their kids were happy.  It's a win-win!

7)  Promote!  Promote!  Promote!  Hang posters a few weeks before. Talk it up to your classes that come through the Media Center to build up excitement.  Make announcements in the morning.  You could even have students do some type of skit if you have video announcements.  Send home notes. I even do a calling post that goes out to all the families in our school telling about the Book Fair and the family event.  It really does make a difference.

8)  Purchase the Book Fair thematic decorating kit.  It is worth your sanity to spend the $49.95.  Plus it would cost much more to buy those items at a party store, not to mention the time it would take to track down those items.

9)  Hang up the poster string (if you display posters that way) before setting anything up.  It is much easier to get the ladder where you need it to be when Book Fair shelves are not in the way.

10) Put smaller items and books that come with other items up front to make it easy to keep an eye on those items that might otherwise "disappear."

11)  If your school is an AR school, label books with AR levels and points the day before your preview.  This helps students and parents find appropriate books and might save you some time during the fair of having to look it up.  You can do this using AR BookFinder or the new Scholastic Book Fair app.  It is available both on iTunes and Google Play for Android devices.  I did find that the Book Fair app didn't always work.   That might be an issue that can be fixed with an update.  It is a pretty cool app when it works and shoppers can download the app, too, for their use.

12)  Get plenty of rest before the Book Fair starts.  You will need it!

The theme for this Book Fair is Book Fair Fiesa.

When I taught first grade...years ago...we had a unit on Mexico, so I pulled out some of my ideas from that unit for decorations and made the doors look like pinatas.

Here's the classroom wishlist board.

And here's the "Doodad" board. Thanks to Jennifer Underhill of the Three Ring Library blog for this idea.  I've used it for 4 Book Fairs now and it has been so helpful.

The spring Book Fair decorating kit (2014) comes with a serape and a double side photo prop.  I found a free app called BoothStache to take pictures of students with fun mustaches behind the photo prop or they could wear the serape.  How fun is that?

I will also be doing Valentine Grams again this year.  This is an idea that has been used by many Media Specialists in my county. You can get a copy of the form here.  Parents and grandparents buy a book from the Book Fair on the sly and fill out a special note to go with the book.  I wrap it up and deliver it with a special treat on Valentine's Day.  So fun!

I love Book Fair week, especially how it makes the Media Center smell.  Ahhh!  Someone should bottle that smell and sell it as air freshener.  Anyway, that's how our Book Fair fiesta is going down.

Do you have any Book Fair tips to share?


  1. How did you attach the items to your doodad board? Those things drive me nuts at the B.F.

    1. I used masking tape for the smaller items and clear packaging tape for the bigger items. The board is just a tri-board display (like for science projects) and I taped bulletin board paper onto it so that I can easily change out the paper color each book fair.