By Stevie Gammon, from Art Goad Elementary in Chelsea, Oklahoma
Everyone who’s run a book fair in the past few years is undoubtedly familiar with the popularity of the Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey. At my school, the kids love the books so much they’ll read them over…and over…and over! Seriously—to the point where the books fell to a state of disrepair in the library. The spine was rubbed away, and pages had begun to fall out. I knew I couldn’t loan the books out anymore due to the damages, but I would have hated to throw them away.
So I thought to myself: why not turn this into something great? If I could re-purpose them somehow, the students wouldn’t have to lose the books they’d come to love. With that in mind, I got right to work! I cut out the pages of all the worn Dog Man books and made them into winter wonderland decorations for my book fair.
At first, the kids were upset at what I had asked for their help with. To them, it was hard to say goodbye: they felt like they were destroying their favorite books. I had to reassure them by explaining that we were repurposing them, so nothing would be destroyed and we could keep the decorations forever. After that, they seemed a bit more excited to help me make these books into something beautiful. We made snowflakes for our winter fair, and a large paper ruffle banner that we still use in classrooms today!
This decoration was cheap and simple, and gave me an opportunity to put my funds toward a larger decoration-based event we held at our fair: a pumpkin decorating contest! In the spirit of the season, I had students decorate pumpkins to look like their favorite book characters. The students loved this activity, and we displayed every pumpkin throughout the fair for parents to see as they walked through. Staff voted on their favorite pumpkins, and the winners received a free book purchased off the fair using our Scholastic Dollars™.
Getting the students involved with making decorations for the fair added so much fun to our set-up process, and all of our students felt more engaged through participation. Giving the kids a chance to express themselves with unique art pieces is priceless, and something I’d recommend to every book fair chairperson if you’re looking for fun, easy ways to take your fair to the next level.