The nostalgia of the '90s Scholastic Book Fair and Why We Loved it.

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How old were you in the 90s? Did you attend any of the Scholastic Bookfair sessions back then? If yes, what was you take? Personally, I loved the Scholastic Book fairs, and I would look forward to the next event the same way I look forward to my birthday!

Remember the days we had our lunches in brown bags with gel pens? Life was good back in my elementary school years. Those were the sweet old days when books were read for you and time set aside for library sessions.

It was mad fun, getting all your favorite books and toys laid neatly in front of you. All you needed was some money from your parents, of course. At that age, we had a lot in our minds, but of course, what we all wanted was the books.

Heading to school on the Scholastic Book Fair morning was more enjoyable than usual; we all anticipated what was ahead. At least we had something to break the monotony of endless class hours.

It was really a blessing to be a reader in the 90s internet age. I always look back at those days and remember with strong nostalgia my experience as a growing reader. It is amazing to see these things from an adult's perspective, and it is for this reason, I am not ready to live bookstagram and the culture it promoted. The scholastic book fairs spurred my romanticism for reading books.

Background History of the Scholastic Book Fairs.
Scholastic Corporation, the body behind the Scholastic Book Fairs, is a global publication, education, and media organization in America that publish and distribute books for schools and children and instructional materials. Products are sold through retail and online sales, as well as through schools and clubs.

Scholastic was founded as the editor of youth magazines in 1920 by Maurice R. Robinson close to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic was the first publication. It was made on 22nd October of 1920. In the 40s, Scholastic entered the business of book-clubs. Scholastic also entered the book publishing industry in the 60s, and foreign publishing houses were attached to the book publishers in England (196), New Zealand (1964), and Sydney (1968). Scholastic joined the book fair business in the 80s.

In February 2012, Scholastic acquired Weekly Reader Publishing from Reader's Digest Association. In July the same year, Scholastic announced that it intended to discontinue the Weekly Reader magazine separate issues after more than a hundred years of circulation.

Everything you need to know about the 90s Scholastic Book Fairs.

Scholastic Book Fairs is a multinational business operation in all 50 countries, including Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Thailand, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Inda.

Scholastic Book Fair has remained an undisputed pioneer in the book industry; Book Fairs annually sells more than 100 million books, including more than 120,000 fairs for children in pre-school, elementary, and middle school all over the world.

Book Fairs have been generating millions of dollars in cash for schools that receive a percentage of the money collected from books' sales. More significantly, the book fairs provide access to thousands of inexpensive books and educational products for students, teachers, and parents.

Looking back at the things I bought during the book fair back in the 90s

Photo Coutesy: Los Angeles Magazine.
Early this week, I came across some of the book fairs stuff I bought back in the 90s. The nostalgia was strong that I had to write about the 90s Book Fairs. I still have a decent collection of retro books that were popular in the late 80s to the 90s.

The nostalgia of the scholastic book fair is too strong for me. These book fairs were the best part of my childhood life. First, I got a flyer to read each summary, read every book I want to read, and circle every book.

Then I would skim the flyers again and check that my choices were good. They were always good most of the time! It was hard to concentrate in class on the Book Fair day. We were always very anxious to finish the classes and attend the book fair.

Back then, we would clear the dining hall and set it up for the book fair. I would run to the book fair, armed with my list of books, shop around as many books as I could. The main challenge was deciding which books I should keep in school and which ones I would have to go home with. The book fair was the best place to find bookmarks, pens, and toys.

The book fairs had a wide range of toys based on the comics book. And do you remember the scented pencil? I found this particular one exciting back in the days.

The fun part was that a few days before the book fair came, we were given a long list of titles that would be on display at the book fair. I would take my time to carefully look at each title and try to judge whether I would like to read it. I would check the books I wish to read and show them to my mother for approval.

Looking back, actually, the Book Fair was the first shopping I ever did alone without my parents looking over my shoulder. I would skim over the top of the deck and pick any title that sounds interesting. Sometimes I would neglect the list I had previously made! Mostly I would be given from 20 – 50 dollars for buying books. So I had to do my math on the go to figure out the number of books that I could buy.

Checking out what my friends have bought

Photo Courtesy:
Having friends who could share their books with you was the nicest thing that could happen. That way, you would make sure you buy different books for your budget. Later on, we would plan to exchange books. That way, we would be able to read more books than we could afford at the time.

I recall sitting with my parents, talking about which books they have purchased and which I have purchased in collaboration with my friends. I had a whole series of Goosebumps spread through my four friends. We would read in turns. This meant that one of us was always ahead of another in the storyline! But that was the fun of it. It is just like being one episode ahead if it was a TV series.

I still have my reading culture intact. I still read a lot to date. I would say the book fairs shaped my personality. From the Boxcar Children series to Shel Silverstein's catalog, Mufaro’s Beautiful daughters, Alice in Rapture, the Magic School Bus, to mention a few. I found these books thrilling at the time. I read each more than twice before trading it with my friends.

These are all the nostalgia that makes me ache for the good old days of the book fairs. I wish I could go back there and do it again. I would like to rejuvenate the lunch box days with gel styles, snap bracelets and Dunkaroos etched on the lunchbox! Having to browse the entire stack of books for hours before picking the book of your choice. It was the most incredible feeling at the time.

Reading the classic books was my favorite. Since I was a fan of classic horror movies and thrillers, books like Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, The Magic Tree House, Animorphs, American Girl books were among my personal favorites. You probably met some of these classic books in your time if you were an ardent reader back in the 90s to early 2000s. These series are in my heart and led to a spontaneous interpersonal connection with strangers at the time.

We have shared nostalgia for these favorite books in my childhood with some friends in my reading club right now. A little less well-known series called "The Pony Pals" was my favorite series, that gave me hours of wishful thinking of adopting a pony in our home. Something that my parents would always be confused about how to address.

Final Thoughts
When you revisit your favorite book cover, you can get wistful from the nostalgia of the good old days that it brings. Perhaps after years of re-reading the books, you recall your fourth-grade teacher holding up the novel, or you remember your copy that you bought from the book fair and dog-eared it after re-reading it over and over.

You may recall books such as The Giver, James and the Giant Peach, the Animorphs series, and of course, the famous Goosebumps series. These were famous in the 90s to early 2000s. We were obsessed with these books back in the 90s. We would hide them under the locker and read through a boring class.

Scholastic Book Fairs ignite real, decade-old nostalgia. And they have maintained the tradition of holding over 120,000 book fairs at schools throughout the USA and other countries internationally. At my elementary school, the book fairs could either be held in the library or the gym during the parent-teacher conference. Parents could pick up their children's report cards and then take the children t the book fairs as a reward or impetus for their good grades.

What memories do you have with regards to the book fairs? Do you remember any book that you loved back then? Did they help shape your reading culture now? Let’s hear from you.
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Omega Geeze
Jul 13, 2019
Man I used to really look forward to these when I was a kid. Anyone remember the little plush book toy things, uh... teachers pets I think they were called?


New Geeze
Sep 13, 2021
Oh my god! K'nex now you're bringing me back!
I had to always play it on my uncles pc cause mine stunk lol. I just found this site earlier after thinking about those book fair book lists that I'd always get in class. I wanted to see if I could find one on ebay or something xD


Omega Geeze
Jul 13, 2019
I had to always play it on my uncles pc cause mine stunk lol. I just found this site earlier after thinking about those book fair book lists that I'd always get in class. I wanted to see if I could find one on ebay or something xD
I don't remember if we ever did the lists.... ey did you ever see those little "teachers pets" little plush book things?