BOGO Book Fair–CoronaLife Day 810

Normally, our school librarian throws a Summer Reading Send Off, where kids come into the library, borrow books for the summer, and get some ice cream. It is a TON of work, but our librarian goes above and beyond to foster love of reading.

This year, we had the opportunity to do a THIRD book fair, at the end of the year. So we jumped at the chance, to get books into kids’ hands for the summer that they could keep. It was easier for the librarian, and it allowed her to take a much more accurate inventory over the summer.

This third book fair has a twist, though. It is a BOGO, buy one get one free. Which means the kids get twice the books for their money. The book fair was smaller than the others, but the selection was good. The only drawback is that we cannot reorder books we sell out of to restock. However, there is an online component, so parents can order any book they really wanted from there.

The excitement from the kids for this book fair has been tremendous! I’m not sure if it’s the BOGO aspect, or just end of year enthusiasm, but books are flying off the shelf. Thursday is the last day of the fair, and we should just make it, inventory-wise.

I love that our school encourages and supports reading so much. I love the enthusiasm of our librarian, and of the PTA volunteers who run the fairs. And I LOVE the kids’ faces as they buy their books, with huge smiles and shining eyes.

Happy reading!

Book Fair Spring 2022–CoronaLife Day 705

We are at the tail end of our spring book Fair, and it’s a jungle out there!

This is our second in-person Fair since the pandemic, and once more the kids are loving having books in their hands.

Watching them shop is fun. Some want every book they see, regardless of topic. Some are overwhelmed by the number of choices and get paralyzed. Some are very hard to match with a book, but once you find the right one, the joy beams from their faces.

Our kids are learning economics, too. Even the kindergarteners quickly learn where to look for the price of the book. We have to collect sales tax, so explaining that to the kids is sometimes difficult. One middle schooler exclaimed, “Tax?! Is this what it’s like to be an adult?”

Yes. Yes, it is.

The kids also learn to budget their money, to prioritize which books they most want, and to understand that they can’t always get everything they want.

Clearly, the Book Fair is about more than reading.

I have worked the book Fairs for 7 years now. I never tire of watching the love of reading pass down to the next batch of youngsters that come through.

Book Fair Spring 2021–CoronaLife 593

Book Fair is one of my favorite times of year. I love getting books into the hands of kids. Their glowing faces, the excitement… It never gets old.

This year our school has a brand new preschool program, so seeing the 3 and 4 year olds amid the books was new. I had totally forgotten just how little they are at that age! So sweet.

We had no Book Fair last year, for obvious reasons, and I think the kids really missed it. Even the too-cool-for-school 8th graders were spending money on books! And this was the first-ever fair for pre-k, kindergarten AND first grades in our school.

As good as it feels to be back, my aching feet and legs did not miss it, LOL. But it is worth it to see the smiles as kids carry off their books as if they were precious gems.

Because working at Book Fair 4 out of 5 days this week isn’t enough to keep me busy, I am also attending a 3-day conference for school board. Luckily, it is virtual this year, with all the sessions available for 30 days, so I could squeeze them in around making kids’ book dreams come true.

I will be busy with course work at the conference all day Thursday, then back to Book Fair all day Friday. This year’s fair has been out of this world!

Never Travel with Alec Ramsey

Recently, in a purely escapist mood, I have re-read all the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. This also includes the Island Stallion books and the stand-alone The Horse Tamer. I have never read them all in such a compressed timeframe and I realized something rather terrifying: you should never travel with Alec Ramsey.

Alec is the owner of the Black Stallion, and of course they have many adventures together. Unfortunately for anyone traveling with them, many of these adventures include transportation or natural disasters. I’m going to go through them below, so if you don’t want to know, stop here!

***mild spoilers***

I am only doing books that center on Alec, as he is not in all the series books.

Black Stallion

1. The Black Stallion (1941) – shipwreck and months on a deserted island
2. The Black Stallion Returns (1945) – abandoned by his caravan in the middle of the Arabian desert during a sandstorm
3. Son of the Black Stallion (1947) – no transport issues, although he does nearly die
5. The Black Stallion and Satan (1949) – forest fire
8. The Black Stallion’s Filly (1952) – no issues
9. The Black Stallion Revolts (1953) – falls out of an airplane, which subsequently crashes
10. The Black Stallion’s Sulky Colt (1954) – no issues
12. The Black Stallion’s Courage (1956) – no issues
13. The Black Stallion Mystery (1957) – abandoned at night in the Balkan mountains
15. The Black Stallion and Flame (1960) – plane crash into the Caribbean during a hurricane
16. The Black Stallion Challenged (1964) – no issues
17. The Black Stallion’s Ghost (1969) – lost in the Everglades. At night. With a madman.
18. The Black Stallion and the Girl (1971) – no issues
19. The Black Stallion Legend (1983) – meteor strike and cataclysmic earthquakes and eruptions

If you travel with Alec Ramsey, you have a 57% chance of being in a transportation or natural disaster. Those are not good odds!

What fictional character would you NEVER travel with? Alternately, are there any you’d LOVE to travel with?

Stay safe out there.

Practice social distancing.

Wash your hands.

The Goose’s Quill Top 10 Posts of 2019

I always like to see what my readers responded to in the past year. I found a mixed bag this year, from writing-related posts, to personal celebrations, to the on-going drama of my daughter’s fish tank. In case you missed any, here are the 10 most popular posts of 2019:

10. A Successful, Grateful Book Launch for The Witch of Zal

9. A Muddy Revision Slog

8. Three Benefits of Reading to Older Children

7. Revision Difficulty? Maybe It’s Your Theme

6. The Fish Saga Continues: RIP Gem

5. Celebrating 50 Years!

4. Considering a Social Media Break

3. On Being a Low-Energy Person in a High-Energy World

2. Book Fair Magic: Casting a Reading Spell

And my number one post of 2019:

1. Speak Up: Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

I hope you all enjoyed this look back at 2019! May your holiday season be happy and safe, and I will see you all back here in 2020!

Three Benefits of Reading to Older Children

Pretty much from the minute she came out of my belly, my husband and I read to our daughter. All through the infant and toddler years, books were everywhere. My girl had 3 bookshelves full of books all to herself long before preschool. Now she is nine and a reading dynamo. She reads at a 7th grade level and has read over 300 books in each of the past 2 summers. So you’d think she doesn’t need us to read to her anymore, right?


Reading aloud to your child at any age is still a bonding experience. Sharing the story, living it together, is a joint adventure. It’s a memory you make. It’s also a good teaching tool. The vocabulary building is a major benefit. Teaching the child how to properly pronounce words they’ve only read is a secondary benefit. For example, teaching my daughter that “yacht” was not pronounced “yack-et.” Haven’t we all been there, wanting to use a word in conversation but not having any idea how it’s said?

Another good reason to read with your older child is because it sparks conversations about deeper issues. We talk about why people behave the way they do in the story. We discuss why people in the story feel the way they do, and maybe how she would feel in a similar situation. Sometimes it will open a conversation about something that happened to her at school. It is a good way for a child to explore confusing or intimidating social situations from the safety of their home and their parents’ arms.

But one of the main reasons I like reading aloud to my older child is a sneaky one. My daughter loves to read, but she is resistant to trying new authors or series. I have been trying to get her to read Misty of Chincoteague for months, because I was sure she would like it. No dice. So on our President’s Day holiday, she asked me to read to her and I brought out Misty. I read to her for an hour and a half (pretty near lost my voice). She kept interrupting with questions about what was going to happen, paid close attention to everything, exclaimed and reacted in all the right places. And once I stopped reading it (about 3/4 of the way through), she took it with her and finished it by the next morning. And now she’s reading the sequel, Stormy, Misty’s Foal.


This is not the first time I have read her into a new series. I did it with the Little House books, too. My daughter is an anxious child, she dislikes going out of her comfort zone. So me reading a new book or author to her allows her to feel safe while exploring new works—and more often than not she then jumps in with both feet. So reading aloud to your older child is a great way to pique their interest in new books, series, and authors.

I will gladly read aloud to my daughter until she no longer wants me to. And I will continue to read “with” her by reading books she has to read for school. I want the book conversations to continue. I want the shared experience to continue. I want the bond to continue.

And then, someday, perhaps she will read to me when my eyesight is failing, and the circle will be complete.



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