As an elementary schooler, a trip to the Scholastic book fair was a momentous occasion. Filing into the musty school library during a rare break from class, you’d be greeted by tables stacked with glittery school supplies, cool posters, and of course, all the latest and greatest in kid lit. As you thumbed through crisp copies of Junie B. Jones and Captain Underpants, the possibilities felt endless—which story would you buy with the $10 you’d begged your mom for that morning? Would you have enough for a fluffy pen, too?
It’s a level of excitement that we rarely experience as adults, but next weekend we’ll have the chance to revel in it once again. From Friday through Sunday, November 16 through 18, Hollywood’s Junior High gallery will host an official Scholastic book fair open to Angelenos of all ages, as well as a full lineup of reading-related events.
Gallery owner Faye Orlove, who spent months planning the event with an official Scholastic representative, believes it’s the first ever fair that’s been held in a non-academic location. “They seemed very confused about the fact that Junior High is not an actual junior high,” she says. “I think the name acted like a kind of loophole or something.”
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Inspired by her own memories of picking out chapter books about wolves and mermaids at Scholastic book fairs, Orlove wanted to help people tap into the powerful collective nostalgia they felt for these events. “I think it’s fascinating to be 28 now, and realize that other people had that same experience I did, where every year we would look forward to it,” says Orlove. But she also hopes the three-day affair will help foster new community bonds.
Aside from browsing books, visitors will be able to attend a journaling workshop for kids and teens with Bright Lite magazine, an all-ages book swap with literary journal Girls at Library, and a reading with feminist bookstore the Lev. “It’s important for me to collaborate with a community of readers who have dedicated their lives to making reading more communal and accessible,” says Orlove. Sunday shoppers can also score free pizza bagels from Gold Bagel.
Since the books for sale will obviously be geared toward a younger audience, Orlove encourages older visitors to pick up gifts for budding readers in their lives. Proceeds will be used to buy more books, which the gallery will donate. “I think the fun of it will be people my age coming in and not necessarily buying the books for themselves, but finding stuff for cousins and kids, and re-harnessing that feeling of loving to read,” she says.
Scholastic Book Fair, Junior High, 5656 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sun., Nov. 16-18, noon-6 p.m.; free.