Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Fairies Spotted

I had a parent conference 
and missed the group picture! 
It's Spirit Week. I stopped at the gas station this morning wearing a black mini-skirt with a crinoline underneath it, a sparkly bathing-suit cover-up top over a hot pink tank and glitter. Luckily I couldn't drive with my wings on and I remembered to leave my crown in the car.

Tuesday is character/author day. My costume: a Book Fairy. Several English and reading teachers created the costume last year and we did again! This year, teachers were invited to make wings with Beth Scanlon after school and rumor has it student assistants even made wings for teachers out of upcycled dictionaries. We had many, many Book Fairies on campus today. We are made of awesome, after all.

I wrote last year about our Book Fairy adventures here and here and even posted a wing making tutorial here (if you're looking for an easy Halloween costume with a literary theme). It's a fun costume to make and wear. I made new wings this year--smaller spanned, were easier to manage. Last year's wing spanned six feet and got ruined when they sat all summer in the portable classroom with no air conditioning (mold).

I gave away some books last year, but not as many as I thought a Book Fairy should. So, this year I made an effort to gather titles I could give away. I spent my lunch period gifting books to students. I had several ARCs and duplicate titles I gave as gifts today--next year I need to plan ahead more and see if I can generate donations so that I have more to give away than I can carry.

I book talked books in my basket to former and current students as well as to a few kids I've never met. I saw a few kids play fighting in a group and happened to have McDonald's Swallowing Stones in my basekt so I talked up the story line to the boys involved and then both went for the book. Kids grin when you walk into the lunch area or cafeteria in costume.

They smile. They hoot. They love it.

I had several specific books I wanted to give to particular students. A student recently wrote about depression. I talked to him, referred him to our school counselor and also tucked Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story into my basket to deliver to him during lunch. I didn't say too much, but I watched him read the back of the book. He knows I'm listening.

I found the other students I was looking for and completed that part of my mission, but I also brought ARCs I could talk up and gift to students I don't know. Approaching a student, I said, "The Book Fairy noticed ...[fill in with an interest or observation]. And she wants to gift you with [insert book talk here]. You may keep the book, enjoy it and or pass it along as you wish. Happy reading!

Some students reacted with grins and smiles that reminded me of the embarrassment of being on the receiving end of a singing telegram. Others were spontaneously appreciative. One even said, "I love you, Book Fairy!" as he flashed his gift title to friends who then crowded around to question Mrs. Spillane (me) about Poetry Club.

It was an amazing lunch. Students clutched their books and tucked them into back packs and said, " Thank you." Such power the simple act of participation has.

Today's joy, complete.


  1. Love!
    Also... might have to be a book fairy for Halloween!

    1. Do it! You would rock the Book Fairy costume, Mindi.

  2. Absolutely love this. So awesome that you do this

  3. What a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love this! I would love to encounter a Book Fairy!

    1. Me too, Kristen. A little bit of magical at school goes a long way toward building relationships.

  5. I couldn't get to you yesterday, but wanted to tell you how wonderful this is, Lee Ann! To put a spark in high school students' lives that isn't about being cool, or ? is just great. You make it easy for them to love the party, and the books!

  6. You are made of awesome. What fun - for everyone involved!

  7. You are made of awesome. What fun - for everyone involved!

  8. You are made of awesome. What fun - for everyone involved!