The Impact of Book Fairs

The Impact of Book Fairs

Anna Lucia Arguello, Staff Writer

Book fairs are a part of my childhood that I hold close to my heart. There’s no comparison to the feeling of being surrounded by new and colorful titles while begging your parents to let you get a pointer you’ll never use again. In my small and heavily supervised Catholic school library, it was often my only chance to explore cultures and religions I’d previously had no exposure to. Oh, and it was the only source of horror novels for the older students. While there are undisputable differences between private and public school life, the elementary and middle school book fairs are universal. 

Schools host book fairs for several reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, they get students excited about reading. They get to choose books that are interesting to them and ones they’re more likely to enjoy, making reading something fun instead of homework. It allows students to develop their reading comprehension skills and foster a love of reading which can follow them their whole lives. On top of that, book fairs can raise money for the schools hosting them which can go back towards supporting academic and extracurricular activities. There is a good reason book fairs are such a beloved and persistent tradition; one I hope continues for years to come. 

Stepping inside a high school reveals a whole different world, as any freshman can attest. It’s big, it’s loud, and it heavily emphasizes self-reliance. Teachers often have too many kids and too many classes to attend to each student personally, and a lot of things considered non-essential get dropped. Reading for fun won’t affect your grade for better or for worse. When homework gets stressful and projects start to pile up, reading gets left in the dust. More and more teenagers are apathetic about reading, losing the lessons and worlds these stories can hold. 

Book fairs are usually found in elementary and middle schools to encourage students to read and get them excited about it. Why go through all that effort only to let that love of reading die as soon as they turn fourteen? Book fairs could perform just the same purpose in a high school setting, connecting students with books they’ll love and reminding them what was so great about reading. It can expose us to cultures and worldviews we might have never considered. With the internet, all knowledge is available at our fingertips, but books are the things that make us look them up. They give us the answers to questions we never thought to ask. They’re a window into other lives, something students could benefit from at any age.