Book Fair for Grown-Ups

A Reminder for Readers Everywhere

Photo by Lenin Estrada on Unsplash

The Scholastic Book Fair has come to my children’s school, and you can feel a tangible excitement in the air. It’s not just coming from the kids either. Many adults still feel nostalgic about the book fair. Taking home that thin catalog of books to select our favorites was a highlight for book lovers everywhere.

Read Across America Day, held on the school day closest to Dr. Seuss’s birthday of March 2nd, might have started as a literacy initiative for kids, but it doesn’t have to stay neatly in that box. As adults, we may no longer have a book fair roll into town, offering us a new selection of books to buy and treasure, but we do have a few other cool things.

  • We have libraries — Mecca for reading enthusiasts.
  • We have bookstores, both indie and big box— and the accompanying jobs designed to feed our bookworm habits.
  • We have online book retailers — both new and used.
  • We have Little Free Libraries popping up everywhere.
  • We even have friends who might happily share books with us — assuming we don’t commit any atrocities against such books (folding back the cover, creasing the spine, folding pages in lieu of a bookmark, writing or highlighting our beloved treasures, forgetting to return them in good time, etc).

We’re grownups. We don’t need the book fair to roll up to indulge in a new book. We just need to prioritize our reading like we do anything else. Sites like Goodreads even lets us set annual goals and track how much we read in any given year.

I used to read one book a day. For years, I read like that, finishing one book and picking up the next. I was happiest when I was curled up with something to read. These days, I write for a living. My own creative process often eclipses my ability to read other work, but it’s still a favorite pastime of mine. I may read less, taking into account raising two children while writing my own stories, but I still have a voracious appetite for books.

I get excited when the book fair comes to town because I get to share my love of reading with my kids. I love their enthusiasm and how carefully they choose the books they want to read. We read together every night, and I think that maybe one day they’ll feel a twinge of nostalgia of their own when Read Across America rolls around.

Still, it’s not over for us. Perhaps we need to celebrate this special day of reading by setting some new reading rules:

  • To read whatever we like, whenever we have time to do it.
  • To stop reading things we feel we “should” read in favor of books we actually enjoy.
  • To stop judging books by genre by stepping outside of our reading comfort zone.
  • By hosting a blind date with books to exchange reads.
  • To donate old reads to our libraries.
  • To set up Little Free Libraries in our community.
  • To join a book club.
  • To leave a book review of our favorite books.
  • To buy a book we’ve been wanting to read.
  • To talk books with our friends and colleagues.
  • To read something we loved as children to our own children.

We can read across America and read across the world. As adults, we get to make many of the rules. We don’t need a book fair to show up to give us permission or for Dr. Seuss himself to rise up and remind us of the value of reading. We just need to remember the joy of reading and then make time for it. It’s not a book fair, but it might be something better because we can do it whenever we like.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

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