Well, I had a set budget for the book fair and I kind of splurged a little. All I can say for myself is that it IS a fundraiser so I it is going to a good cause. The hardest part about working at the book fair is that all the book lovers congregate around the cases and start reading the backs of books. You hear, “This sounds good!” “Did you see this one?” No, no, no! My budget doesn’t want to hear that!
My co-chair pointed out two books to me that I would have definitely looked over otherwise. We both love to read, especially YA and MG books, but we mostly focus on different genres. Which is nice, because we tend to fill in each other’s gaps. She like fantasy, ghost stories, and other Halloween/horror type books. I, on the other hand, focus on science fiction and more general fiction than she does. Overall, we generally end up looking at most of the books and know what they are about. The two books in particular that she pointed out to me caught my eye as well, but looked a little too fantastical for my interest. I didn’t even bother reading the back of them.
This is not the cover that the Scholastic book fair has. The cover we saw just has a feather standing upright and some mist. It is definitely more eye catching for me than this cover. This cover has almost no appeal to me.
My friend picked up Kandide and the Secret of the Mists and started reading the back to me. It instantly connected with me. With ideas of dystopia, identity, vanity, self worth, and other elements of fiction that are interesting me right now.
“When a tragic accident leaves her less than perfect, her own mother casts her away to a treacherous world where strange beasts roam the dark, lifeless forest and even stranger Fae rule the land. Kandide must battle hideous creatures, as well as her own internal repulsion for the 'Imperfects' she is now like, if she is to survive.”
This world of the Imperfects fascinates me and definitely reminds me of some of the dystopian themes I have seen explored in other books. And even though this book wasn’t remotely close to being on my wishlist, it ended up in the stack of books I intended to buy. I often struggle with fantasy books, though I have been pushing myself to try and read more of them and I really think this one is a perfect fit for me. I hope that the book ends up being as interesting as the premise sounds.
The next book that was pointed out to me is The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki. The interesting thing we discovered about this book was that it would really appeal to both male and female readers, but we felt like the cover would really alienate boys and keep them from even reading the back cover. We both love the cover of this statue girl holding a book, but it is too soft and feminine to appeal to readers of both gender.
It can be frustrating knowing that boys generally will not even glance at a book that looks like it is for girls, while girls seem more interested in a broader spectrum of books. Connecting with male readers seems to be a continuing struggle in education and with parents. There are lots of great books out there that would probably interest boys if they were just packaged a little bit differently.
“Eddie Fennicks has always been a loner, content to lose himself in a mystery novel by his favorite author, Nathaniel Olmstead. That’s why moving to the small town of Gatesweed becomes a dream come true when Eddie discovers that Olmstead lived there before mysteriously disappearing thirteen years ago.”
My co-chair kept saying, “This is a boy book, this doesn’t look like a boy book. Why doesn’t this look like a boy book? Oh look! There’s a dragon on the front. You can’t even see it until you read the book. How am I going to get people to know this is a boy book?” She is the mom of a now grown reluctant male reader, so she really connects with the need to find books that will not only interest boys, but will have the type of cover art that appeals to boys.
Michael Buckley, the author of the Sister’s Grimm series, has a new book series out that is very male oriented and appeals instantly to the majority of male readers. I am honestly surprised that we haven’t seem more books from this series in the checkout stand, but I heard of boys really enjoying them. The Nerds series starts with the aptly named NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society. And we are selling both books 1 and 2 at the book fair. Although I have been trying to stick firm to my budget, I couldn’t resist the urge and both books ended up in my buy pile today.
These books look really fun to me. When I was flipping through them I loved the artwork done at the headers. It is similar to the circuit board motif you can see in the Nerds title on the cover. This reminds me of another book I bought at a fair last year, Cyberia. It also reminds me that despite my best intentions, I haven’t finished it yet. I even saw that Cyberia was nominated for an award recently. Hopefully I will get Cyberia, Nerds, and my other book fair selections finished in a timely manner. It is something I need to work on!
Would any of these books make it into your buy pile? I hope Wednesday ends up being another great day at the book fair!