It's Book Fair time.
Every year, twice a year, I pretend to have my own bookshop. A shop that arrives in one day, packed tight in boxes and stays for one glorious week. The boxes are unwrapped and the books are displayed around the otherwise empty room and with the collective voices of all those authors chattering behind closed covers....the room simmers.
"I wish I could just stay in here all week," says one visiting teacher. She's a fellow book lover who seems to almost follow the scent of the books down the hallway. She arrives and stands with her eyes closed, hands hanging at her sides, breathing. Her pose is akin to the pose of one who has just arrived at the ocean and is taking in the sounds of the waves and the salt air, only here the ocean is words just waiting to be read.
We live in a small town. They closed our bookstore several years ago. We have a library in which my "request" list sits like a forgotten can of beans on a back shelf somewhere, untouched. I am not alone. There are many like me who put requests in that are never answered. All those new books I am dying to read stay somewhere far, far away until...book fair.
The kids poor in and exclaim, "book fair is here!", "I love book fair!", "I love books!" Of course it grabs my heart. You should just see their faces. It's better than an ice cream shop. It's words, stories, worlds and they can't wait to get inside.
As I look across the tables, adding one after another to the stack I plan to read before the fair closes in a week, I can't help but think of the books like old friends. It seems like the invitation to visit was sent ages ago, but not finally, they have arrived. The faces of characters on picture books look out, bright eyed, and I think, "Now is your time to shine."
They don't disappoint. A good book never does.