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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

The Day the Stories Came to Life

By Daniele Berman, Communications and Events Manager

Like me, you may have vivid memories from your elementary school days of the Scholastic Book Fair, the day all those titles from the paper book order forms were suddenly available in real life, right there in your own school library or cafeteria or auditorium. Man, was that a good day! I so clearly remember wandering through the tables filled with beautiful new books on the stage in the H.W. Smith Elementary School auditorium, agonizing over how to spend the money my parents had given me that morning, and marking up my list of all the other books I hoped they’d buy me for whatever holiday was coming up next, overwhelmed and too short on time to see everything on offer, and absolutely thrilled at the smell and shine and promise of all those new stories and adventures. And maybe, also like me, you experience just a little bit of that same thrill now when your children bring home their book order forms from school, when you watch their eyes light up as they eagerly circle the next book in that series they’re loving in hopes that you’ll order the book and send them off on that next adventure.

But what if that Scholastic Book Fair came to life? What if, instead of living in books on tables and in paper order forms, those beloved characters walked out of the pages, packed themselves into an RV filled with fun, and rolled into your school parking lot? And what if there were no order forms, no saving up book money required — what if, for that one day, this real live Scholastic Book Fair were free for everyone?

If you were one of the 400+ friends who joined us this past Monday for the Summer Reading Road Trip with Scholastic, you know that’s pretty much exactly what happened. I needed only to watch one two-year-old girl, who waited patiently to take her picture with Clifford and then proceeded to follow him around the whole event, to recognize the magic of seeing your favorite character come to life. Or the line of too-cool-for-school tweens who were eager to pose in Captain Underpants’s signature uniform and smile for the camera, flanked by Dog Man himself. And the number of grownups who couldn’t wait to dress up and pose as Harry Potter (myself included) in honor of this 20th anniversary of its US release? All these years after I first read those books, I couldn’t have been more excited to hop on that quidditch broom and remember, just for a minute, the thrill of flying through those stories for the first time.

The Summer Reading Road Trip visit to Burton Elementary School was all that and more. 980 books — including classic Clifford and Harry Potter titles, of course — made their way home with happy readers (free, and no order forms required!). Kids of all ages visited stations where they calculated their own Professor Poopypants names, spun a prize wheel and won all sorts of bling, made fingerprint crafts and hand-tracing characters, and posed for lots and lots of photos. They ate freeze pops, met friends (human and larger-than-life), and got really excited about reading. And that was the most magical part.

One little boy, who couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7, strapped on his Book Harvest backpack at the check in table and declared, “I’m in college!” Not yet, friend, but keep reading and dreaming big, and we have no doubt that your brilliance — powered by Clifford and Harry, Dog Man and Geronimo Stilton, and so many other friends — has no limits. We can’t wait to see what future chapters bring for you.

We couldn’t be more grateful to our friends at Scholastic for choosing to stop in Durham on your epic summer road trip! Thank you so much for bringing all this summer reading excitement to our community!

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