Last Friday morning we had the pleasure of being visited by the Lincoln, Vt., elementary school’s first-grade class. Someone’s grandmother had donated $200 to the classroom for building up the library for the incoming first-grade class.
At 10 a.m. they arrived, polite, shy, and eager to shop. We had taken a great variety of levels one through four I Can Read books and spread them in small stacks on every available surface in the two picture book sections. We thought that system would cause far less chaos than kids trying to look at the books from the spinner where we keep all the early readers and chapter books.
The teacher suggested I go over how to handle the books so the books stayed looking new. I was in a silly mood so I said to the kids,”These books are new, so you have to look at them carefully. Be gentle turning the pages and don’t bite the books.” I didn’t really think anything of it at the time, but when the teacher asked a student to repeat back the rules and she said, “We can’t eat the books.”
These kids were so well-behaved it was stunning. Quietly they sought out their favorites and were decisive young shoppers. One young man came to the counter and said about his Henry and Mudge, “I liked these a lot when I was younger.”
The kids spent all the money in less than 20 minutes and then they were gone, in a blur of giggles and even a few hugs.