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Book Orders & School Fundraisers

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Alternatives for schools' book fairs

Oct 2007

Hello, Can anyone recommend an alternative to Scholastic Book Club for schools? I'm just wondering if there's one out there that is less commercial and/or features more diversity? Thanks so much. school mom helping with book orders

Years ago when my daughter was in elementary school, I got a book fair together that wasn't Scholastic! It took some work, but was very successful. I called many bookstores and asked if they wanted to participate and we worked out prices and pick-up arrangements. I had an official letter from the school that I could bring to the places so that they knew I was for real and not just trying to steal their books. The point, too, was that the books would be affordable so I asked for only paperbacks, if possible. The places I called were: Marcus Books, Oyate (not a store, but a distributor of books by and about Native Amerians), Arab Resource Center (not sure if they are still around, also not a book store, but had books), East Wind Books, Children's Book Press, and a few more that I can't remember. I also got the Lawrence Hall of Science bookstore involved. It was really fun but alot of work. I got some dedicated volunteers and we went for it! If the school is open to it, maybe you can do it yourself! At this point though, there may be a place that would just bring their variety of books into the school and save you the time and energy. If you are interested in talking about this more you can email me. nadja
Local bookstores like Cody's and Diesel do school book fairs. Our school hasn't used them, so I can't compare, but I'd love to switch over to not only a local company, but one that will take into consideration what kinds of books a particular school community might want. Hicklebees is a kids bookstore in San Jose and they do tons of book fairs and offer probably the best selection, but I'm not sure if they'll come to East Bay. Worth a call though. not a scholastic fan
Try Chinaberry books (1 800 776 2242 - they have sponsored school book fairs with free shipping in past. Let us know what happens! bookworm

Book Order Forms Coming Home from School

Sept 2004

What do other parents do with the book order forms kids bring home? My first grader wants nearly 2/3rds of the books on the form. Is this an oppurtunity to teach budgeting? A way to encourage literacy? Do I only let him get books HE can read? What??? I'm sure I'll figure this out myself, but I'm curious how others handle it. I was the same way when I was a kid...

We started a practice with those too frequent book order things that my 13 year old daughter still uses with the too frequent catalogs for trendy teen clothes that show up in our mailbox. I think it was very useful.

First, we made it clear that we would order only books. No software, no little stuffed animals or other toys. Then the kid went through and marked everything they wanted. We looked over it, and occasionally removed something from consideration, like if they ''forgot'' and marked a toy (the toy/book combos were tricky) or if we thought a book wasn't appropriate for them for some reason. Then they had to add up the price of everything that remained chosen (when they were younger, they wrote the list and we helped add with a calculator.) They were usually really surprised at how big that total was. I would then give them an amount I was willing to spend, and they went through and considered their list and subtracted the least desirable items until they got to the amount I would pay.

I felt they learned a lot from this process, about how the cost of many items adds up, and how to think about what you really want when you can't have it all. anne

I always let me kids circle the ones they wanted, and then I'd pick a few for each. I like to always encourage reading and a love of books. If they had several books still from a previous order that hadn't been read or enjoyed, I'd reconsider for that order. booklover
I was overwhelmed at first too - but now just say they can get books every so often, if I feel I can afford it. I also tell them no movie tie-in books, no books with little ''prizes'', no stupid books... Arbitrary maybe but the prices are actually reasonable and the flyers often have really good books that you should have in your kid's library anyway. But yes, I do also tend to stick to the books they can actually read. S
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