Spring Book Fair Enhances Reading Culture

By Lauren Cohen

Spring book fair season is soon upon us and students, families, and faculty alike are excited for the newest selections! From Feb. 24 to Feb. 28, the Scholastic Book Fair is coming back to Oak Hall School at the Faisal Family Media Center from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. While the book fair is open to the greater-Gainesville community, it is primarily a school event. Each year, the book fair has a different theme, and this semester, the library transforms into a jungle. 

“[The book fair] benefits the children because we want to create a reading culture at Oak Hall,” said Upper School Media Specialist Evelyn Smith. These annual book fairs, in collaboration with Scholastic have helped promote the value of reading in school. “We want kids to continue reading because reading is exercise for their brains,” Smith continued. 

Fifth grader Jonah S. takes a look at a book during the fall book fair

The fair sells everything from small, little trinkets like erasable pens, highlighters, and notebooks, to posters, and of course, books! There is a wide selection of books ranging from thrillers and horror to romance and historical fiction. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Ademeni is currently the top pick for Smith. It tells the tale of West African cultures, and Smith notes that it’s like the “African Harry Potter” with elements of magic and a fight against oppressive rule.  

The fair accepts all forms of payment except for Apple Pay. This includes cash, cards, checks, and even the e-wallet, which allows parents to create an account for their children with a specified amount of money that can be used when they are at the fair. “In other words, you don’t have to worry about sending a kid with a debit card or cash,” Smith noted. The e-wallet provides itself as a nice alternative for both students and parents alike. 

Lower School Media Specialist Joanna Brailer helps kindergartners fill out their wishlists during the fall book fair

“Lower School kids love the way the library transforms,” said Smith. “They love the decorations, they love the posters, they love the smell of the new books…It’s like watching your children come in on Christmas Day,” she continued. The annual book fairs are an exciting time for many Oak Hall students as they have the opportunity to enwrap themselves in a world filled with knowledge. For many students, returning to the book fair brings a sense of nostalgia. “I remember going and getting excited about the magic wands,” Oak Hall sophomore Eva Okunieff reminisced. 

A number of volunteer opportunities are available for Middle and Upper School students, including helping younger students sign up for books through wishlists, straightening merchandise, unpacking boxes that arrive, and cash-registering which is preferred amongst the Upper School students. Students can volunteer from 3:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. on any of the given days and if they have a free period, they can utilize that time as well. To sign-up as a volunteer, please visit: https://www.scholastic.com/bf/oakhallschool1