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A groovy kind of book fair at DDES

Peace, love and reading was the groovy theme of a colorful book fair held Saturday at Della Davidson Elementary School in Oxford.

Librarian Wendy Raby, 34, has been a teacher for more than a decade. The Winfield, Alabama, native moved to Oxford in 2007 and worked at Della Davidson through 2012 before accepting a position as a middle school teacher.

This is her first year back at Della, and she wanted to make the annual book fair a special event.

“I decided that I wanted to do two book fairs to raise money, because we need books for our library,” Raby said. “So this is kind of one of our ways of getting that money.

“Then I started thinking about what we could do with a groovy theme. We just kept thinking of ideas, and today was the first day. We have had so many events with bingo, musical chairs, face-painting.”

Raby said she wants to continue making the book fair special for children.

“I’m trying to make it big and make it fun for them to come, so that they just don’t come and buy books,” she said. “They get to come and participate in other activities.”

The book publisher, Scholastic, sent the school many books to display on tables and sell.

“What we sell, we get profit off of, and what we don’t sell, we just send back,” Raby said. “So they make it a really easy process.”

Ella Martin, 9, attended the book fair Saturday.

“I really wanted the Grace book,” she said, referring to an American Girl doll character. “I have her ‘before’ book, but I need her ‘after’ book.”

Her brother, Rowan Martin, 10, was also at the event.

“My dad has a photo bus made out of a VW van, and he came,” he said. “It’s a 1970s bus, and you can take pictures. He has props and stuff.”

Those who had their picture taken on the Volkswagen Beetle van received a free strip of photos to take home.

Alice Williamson, 8, was found coloring a picture at a table. She said she likes “chapter books that have animals” in them.

The book fair room was decorated with a groovy 1960s theme.

“All of the decorations are just things that we’ve come up with,” Raby said. “We’re just trying to make it fun for the kids.”

The event also featured a costume contest, musical chairs and a parade around the school.

“They think it’s really cool that the library looks like a totally different place,” Raby said. “It’s so colorful and inviting. We have a coloring table, and a lot of the children have wanted to color on the table, so I’ve decided our paper that’s on the table is going to be our background for my next bulletin board. I’ll take pictures from today, post them on the bulletin board outside and let the kids reminisce about today.”

Raby said sales for the last book fair neared $17,000, and the school received a percentage of sales.

“I hope to hit $17,000 or more today through Thursday,” she said. “The book fair will be here all week.”

Raby said “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is one of the most popular books in the school library now. She’s also had trouble keeping Minecraft books in stock, as well as worldalmanacs and record books.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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