I called my fourth graders over to our reading rug. Beside my rocking chair were three overstuffed bags. I began telling my kids about my two days away last week at the Wisconsin State Reading Association's conference. Some of them were listening, nodding politely to my story.
But most of them were looking at the bags.
Finally, I came to the part in my story about the vendor at WSRA who was selling all of their books for $2 each. I went in to their booth and looked around. I hadn't planned on spending money at WSRA, but for $2, I could pick out a few books.
I bought 19 books.
The next day as I was waiting for lunch, I went back into the vendor hall. I found myself over by the $2 vendor and thought, "What the heck, he doesn't have many books left. I won't buy any. I'm just looking today" and I went in.
While I was standing there perusing the shelves (feeling very proud of myself for not putting any books in a shopping basket), the vendor announced that he didn't want to have to pack up the books so all books were now $1 for the next 20 minutes.
$1???? There went my plan of not spending more money.
I spent $58.
The students who were still listening to my story gasped. $58 was a lot of money, they said.
It IS a lot of money except look what I got, I told them, and I began to empty the bags.
I showed them Big Nate.
I showed them Goosebumps.
I showed them Humphrey the Hamster.
I showed them Magic School Bus.
I showed them stories of pirates, gladiators, D-Day, skateboarding, and volcanoes.
Then I sat back and watched.
The conversation and energy was electric. The oohs and aahhhhs as they examined the contents of the books were music to my ears. Some students took a book and went off to get started reading. Others made plans to read books together. Some couldn't decide.
It WAS like Christmas morning, only better.
Pure book love.