Book Fair Brain

Why, oh why, does Book Fair turn my brain to mush?

Could it be because of these scenarios?

“Take a moment and count your money…just stack it in piles of $1.” Child dumps out bag of change.

Me: “Hmm….I think that book is $6.99 and that one is $5.99. You have $10 in your hand.” Child shoves his choices toward you. “Why don’t you step over there and think about it. It looks like you have a hard choice to make.”

Me: “Your total is $11.98.”
Child: “But I thought it was $10.”
Me: “This book is $6.99 and this one is $4.99. Don’t forget that you have to pay for the $.99 also.”
Child: “Oh.”

Child: “Wait. Can I have an eraser, too?”
Me: “Just one purchase at a time. Remember this is like a store and at Target you don’t go to the checkout over and over. How about if you save your money and come back tomorrow?”

Child: “How much can I buy with this?” (“This” being 8 pennies, a nickle, and a coin from another country.)

Me: “I see you have a big stack there. How much money do you have?” (I’m bold like that.)
Child: “Oh, it’s fine.”
Me: “You’re keeping track?”
Child: “Yes,” and then finally comes to the register.
Me: “$45.90”
Child: “Oh. Can I put the pen back?”
Me: “$43.91”
Child: “And that pen.”
Me: “41.92”
Child: “Huh. And that pencil.”
And on and on until finally we settle on an acceptable amount in the range of reasonable.

Me: “Your total is $34.82.”
Child holds out $3.

And the money in bags.

And the money in wads.

And the completely blank check with a signature. (There’s one every time.)

And the beautiful beautiful checks written by moms and dads who have read wish lists, circled items that are appropriate, and have generously added an extra dollar for an eraser or pencil. I love those checks. 

They have so much to learn about money and shopping. I love that they get the opportunity to do this in a safe environment as independent shoppers. But, oh my, it does hurt my brain sometimes!


  1. Amen. Oh my goodness amen. Glad to know it is not just me. Or our students needing more practice with money. Was talking to the math facilitator and really, it’s true … they don’t necessarily see their parents using cash that often. It’s all plastic. I hardly ever use cash any more.
    But at least I know how to count. :/

    Was going to make a center with the flier and some math practice. But of course our school laminator is broken. Again. So the fliers will only last like a week.

    On a side note … I wish they made the Scholastic Book CLUB fliers look different from the FAIR fliers. Cause confusion over that also makes me lose some brain cells.

    • Oh those Club flyers! I know what you mean! Usually my teachers catch on and don’t send them home the month of the Book Fair, but sometimes one gets through. Last year I had a student place an online order only to discover when the books didn’t show up that she had placed it through the Book Club side of Scholastic.

  2. The completely blank check with a signature — I still can’t believe it when I get those…

    I can relate to ALL of those!!

    How about the kid who wants to spen $10 in pens, pencils, erasers and other junk. And mom sent a note that says he/she MUST only buy books!

  3. Wow! This sounds exactly like the situations I have at every book fair I have held for the past 13 years! Last year I had a student bring me her special tooth fairy dollar all glittered out. I loved the look on the bank tellers face when she counted that one in my deposit.

    Another funny…I call the extra non-book items junk. My rule is it is a book fair not a junk fair, they must buy at least 1 book before any junk. Now when family night rolls around, I have at least 1 student tell their parent (just after the parent comments how cute those animal eyeball pens are etc.) ‘We have to buy a book first, we can’t look at the junk until we do’!

  4. This is the funniest post ever. Like, funny laughing insanely funny. Over a stack of said nickels, dimes and pennies. And two erasers, a pencil and a dollar…borrowed from a friend.

  5. Hee hee hee, this is so funny, and so true! What gets me even more than the kids with no clue about money is the teacher who will send a student with eight cents in his pocket to the book fair. What does she possibly imagine the child will be able to buy with eight cents???

  6. Just experienced all of those, Carolyn! LOL! You captured the book fair experience perfectly. Love your blog…when do you have time???? We miss you in Hky!

    • Robin! I miss you! Blogging has been my social life replacement after moving. It’s been a lot of fun and keeps me motivated to try new things at work. Pass on my Hello to everyone!

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