I got 99 problems, but the book fair is not one.

I wrapped up my twelfth – TWELFTH – book fair yesterday and it was the most successful one I’ve ever had; we raised almost $4000 for the school library and home reading program. I feel like I should preen a little bit about that, but credit must be given where credit is due: Minecraft Handbooks and Annuals. Easily the most popular books in the fair, I found myself with reorder sheets and lineups of kids. My own house now has a copy of the Annual and the children have been spending much time doing whatever it is they do when they are on Minecraft. Also popular? National Geographic’s World’s Cutest Animals, and Paulette the Pinkest Puppy in the World. So, there’s a bit of a range there. The thing about volunteering for twelve consecutive book fairs is that one really develops an intimate knowledge of children’s reading habits. There are some girls that I remember choosing Pinkalicious and Barbie the Mermaid, and now they are reaching for the Whatever After series. My own children have graduated from the Hot Wheels Easy Readers to the 39 Clues and Spirit Animals. I could do a growth chart, just with Scholastic books.


Photo is PRE-rampaging by 530 elementary-aged children.

So it’s been a busy, but gratifying, week. There’s nothing like pure adulation from a whole lot of children to boost one’s self-esteem, not that I particularly needed boosting, but here we are. While at the school I attended an Olympic wrap-up assembly, which I sat through with a lump in my throat and blurry eyes. My boys’ classes were the assembly’s “hosts” and the assembly started off with Olympic music and the teacher calling out different countries, the children all coming in behind flags from countries representing their nationalities. The one boy from Greece started everyone off, followed by at least twenty other countries. Many children wore traditional clothing from their countries of origin, and all in all it was a wonderful display of multiculturalism.

I know what you’re thinking: what about the recorders? Well, both classes played the recorder, accompanied by the bass xylophones. Thank god for the bass xylophones. The recorders were pretty terrible, as to be expected, but happily the songs were short. Mark’s class then did an Olympic Alphabet, with his contribution being the letter M and a blurb about Mark McMorris, which was kind of nice. And then, making all my dreams come true, Jake’s class did a dance melange of traditional Russian dancing mixed with disco moves, all set to an instrumental version of Rasputin. It was just as amazing as it sounds.

I was an emotional wreck through the whole thing, as I realized one of the very first assemblies I’d ever attended was the 2010 Olympic kick-off assembly, when Mark was in kindergarten performing – oddly enough – I’m a Little Teapot. Kindergarten! And when the next Winter Olympics comes around, both of my children will be in junior high. Time makes you bolder, even children get older. I’m getting older too. I’d sing it mournfully, but unfortunately for my mental health, I have had Nights on Broadway stuck in my head for three days. I feel like Ralph Fiennes from The English Patient, but in a disco way. I have been singing this. For THREE DAYS.

I don’t even know all the words. I just keep singing the same lines over and over. Blaming it all on the nights on Broadway. Singing them sweet sounds. To that crazy crazy town. Remember that Seinfeld episode where George was convinced he was losing his mind since he went to see Les Mis and couldn’t get Master of the House out of his head? It’s like that. I’m pretty sure I’m headed to a mental institution. Not only that, but I’m disco dancing to the song in my head. Literally. I find myself in the kitchen, behaving as if I’m the lead-off dancer on Soul Train. I am not marching to my own drummer, I’m doing the hustle to the Bee Gees in my mind.


  1. Congrats on your book fair success!

  2. RAH RAH RASPUTIN, LOVER OF THE RUSSIAN QUEEN. When I’m locked up wearing a backwards shirt in a few days, I’ll know who to blame. THANKS, NICOLE! (sorry I can’t make an actual comment – post traumatic book fair disorder, TRIGGER TRIGGER TRIGGER)

  3. I am actually really interested in your Book Fair Lady book recommendations. Yesterday i went to the library with the older two, and my six year old daughter wanted me to “pick some books out for her,” and I spent like an hour while the older two whined on the floor, trying to figure out what she would like. She’s getting too old now for picture books but too young for chapter books – she was heavily, HEAVILY into the Rainbow Fairy books but now is beyond that. I ended up with some Dr. Seuss early readers and picture books about horses. Where is Junie B. Jones when you need her?

    • Oooh, not into the Rainbow Fairy books? Is she too young for Geronimo or Thea Stilton? There was a Betty and Veronica fairy tale book that was pretty popular. Also a book called Mouseton Abbey and it had all the characters in knitted mouse form. Awwww. But it was really more of a picture book.


  1. […] Point presentation about it, and presented it to the class. Not unlike when the classes did their Olympic celebration, it was a real showcase to the multiculturalism and diversity in our school. Predictably, there […]

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