A Magical Place Awaits You…

One of my Sevies (7th graders) came up to me this week and quite indignantly told me, “Mrs. Dallas, we read your blog, but you haven’t mentioned anything about your 7th graders on there yet!” So, with a repentant heart, I must please the masses and give them a bit of what they want – a few paragraphs of fame on my personal blog. And that brings me to this entry’s personal confession … I confess that I absolutely look forward to Book Fair time at Springtown Middle School every year, almost like I look forward to Christmas or my birthday.

This love for rolling metal cases overflowing with freshly printed books of all shapes, sizes, and subjects has as much to do with my love of books as it has to do with the fact that we have a totally cool librarian, Jennifer. Every year, Jennifer picks a theme and decks out the library accordingly, giving me not only perfect picture opps with my students, but a fun and comfortable hang-out spot for my little Pre-AP book nerds (and their Book Nerd Teacher). 

This year’s theme was Fantasy, so for the last two weeks, the bright orange and royal blue halls have been decorated with homemade paintings of fantastical creatures and places inviting everyone to the fair. Since fantasy books are my FAVORITE, I was totally into this theme. To enter Jennifer’s “realm of books” every person had to walk through a portal (strips of black butcher paper painted in hypnotic shapes and covering windows and doorway). 

My first period had just finished watching Phantom Tollbooth the movie, and when they reached the entrance to the library, they all stopped and looked back at me like, “What do we do?” Of course, I cried, “It’s a portal like the tollbooth! We’re all going to be animated on the other side!” We laughed, but then I swear, for a second, they considered what I said. Like we all wanted to believe that something just as magical could happen in our world. It was even a bit disappointing when we ran through the portal, making silly suction sounds, only to find that we were still, in fact, human-looking.
However, once inside, we were greeted by a towering waterfall stretching from the ceiling to the floor with lush vegetation springing out of its depths. Okay, so it was all made from butcher paper, but itwas still amazingly fun! The first thing my 3rd period did was sit around the water’s edge and listen to Savannah tell us about her experience at the Inauguration. She had just returned the day before from a privileged attendance in Washington D.C.  Having watched the inauguration all day Tuesday at school, we wanted an insider’s scoop. Some questions asked were, “Where were you standing?” A mile away. “Did you get to touch Barack and Michelle?” Are you kidding? A little blond cheerleader like her? Too threatening. (We made up a story about the Secret Service overreacting to her presence at the ceremony. Ha!) “Was it cold?” Duh. “Did you get to see the Jonas Brothers?” No. Savannah graciously answered our serious and dumb questions. She also told us about some of the other people she heard speak (some of which had books right there on the shelves of the book fair)! 

Now, behind the waterfall were the actual books themselves. Once you journeyed that direction, the musical scores of fantastical movies (such as Pirates of the Carribbean or Harry Potter or Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium) set an adventurous mood while you shopped. It made each title on the shelf, each glimpse of cover art, seem like something that could come alive if you only touched it. (And we touched a lot in our desperate exploration of plot synopses.) 

By the time my very energetic 4th period came in, we were pulling books off the shelves, diving in for more information on college football teams, or the world’s ugliest dog, or popular anime graphic novels which you read backwards … the whole place was a treasure trove of information, imagination, and ingenuity. 

I found myself reminding the boys, “Be careful of the waterfall – don’t rip it while you pretend to swim in it!” or warning the girls, “Don’t sniff the highlighters too much – they might dry out!” (scented highlighters, of course). We had sword fights with pointers and played with pens featuring blush brushes on the other end. 

All in all, my 7th grade classes were energized by the book fair … my 8th graders were relaxed by it. And me? I just loved every minute … from sitting by the fake waterfall and chatting with my Sevies to standing back and watching my Crazy Eights cop a squat in small groups and chat quietly as if they were already grown college students hanging out at Barnes & Noble (sniff, sniff. They’re getting so old …). 

Book Fair Time for my classes means laughter, adventure, bonding, and, always, the fresh discovery of a new story waiting to unfold within our imagination. Thank you to Jennifer for putting on the best Book Fairs and allowing all of us to spend a few precious moments inside another world! 

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Comments to “A Magical Place Awaits You…”

  1. Aw!!! Looking at these brings tears to my eyes!!! look how cute and innocent….looking…we were!!! AW!!! LOL!!!
    We've grown so much its amazing!!! Thanks for the memories mrs. D!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! 😀

  2. I love u mrs. D! I’ll be the first one to buy your book! You’ve taught me so much that i’ll remember!

  3. i seriously enjoy mrs. dallas’ class. its pretty cool. if you are reading this mrs. dallas go to my blog at mitchellmcgonigle.blogspot.com thanks for everything mrs. d 😀

  4. wow… comparing the sevies to the crazy eights, i bet your fourth period class is trouble mrs. d, let’s see there’s phillip, mitchel, stevie, let’s not forget josh… who am i leaving out? ah yes jonathan… i suspect he’s loads of trouble. *eye roll** but i can see the eighth graders being more mature. and the book fair was awesome! i loved every waking second of it. between the decor and music… THE MANGA! there were 12 different manga novels and then POSTERS and MAGAZINES… CALENDARS!!! it was the best i had a manga rush!!! it was the best book fair expeience of my entire life!!! i don’t know what everyone else thought of it, but that hole burned in my pocket by the book fair is something i’ll never frown upon! ***this is lavishing lindsey singing off–***

  5. I miss the book fairs. They were so cool, and fun. We don’t have those book fairs anymore in high school, or atleast I don’t think so. It would be completely new news to me if we did.I love the pictures, brings back memories. Well, high school is going amazing. I finally made on of these blogs, yay! 🙂


  6. Wow.
    That seems awesome!
    Ya’ll are lucky to have such a great librarian!

  7. That librarian is my wonderful cousin. LOL I truley do miss Book Fairs. I looked forward to them every year. It was so much fun to look at all the books and little “make your own whatever” kits. 🙂

  8. Yeah, we in fourth period do have quite a bit more fun than the other classes. It is pretty interesting, especially when someone decides to argue with Mrs. Dallas.

  9. This year’s book fair theme was my favorite so far. I was pretty into my “Found” book and last night I picked up “Bogus to Bubbly”. It’s too bad you aren’t an Ugly fan. It has some cool stuff you might want to use if you teach the novel, though.

    I know…Uglies is no Twilight. meh

    I wish my kids were as sophisticated as yours. Mine went straight to the ‘junk’ and poked each other with the fingers on a stick. 🙁

  10. What fun for your classes! Very cool librarian.

  11. Krissi! Just found your blog and am so glad to “reunite.” I had missed your Xanga! And, as a huge Harry Potter and Twilight fan, I can’t wait to see your YA fantasy work in print!

  12. I always loved the book fair..

  13. That looks amazing – you really do have an incredible librarian! How fun! 🙂

  14. Awww cute pics!! Love the blog!! Glad to find a fellow teacher blogette on here. 🙂

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