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Left, Ella Rossman and Dominic Murphy go undercover to shop for books at the El Granada Elementary School book fair. Sarah Griego Guz/Review

The timing is perfect for the arrival of the Scholastic school book fair. Last week Hatch Elementary School held its fair. This week, El Granada Elementary School students are holding theirs. The book fair is an opportunity to refresh your child’s reading library or to pick up a couple of holiday gifts. 

On Monday afternoon, Dominic Murphy and Ella Rossman were browsing the bookshelves. Murphy was drawn to books that not only wax poetic about the world of Legos but include a Lego action figure in a blister pack attached to the front of the book. He was also eyeing the “Super Deluxe Pokémon” book. 

“My mom got me the ‘Pokémon Training Manual,’” he said. 

Rossman was excited about the Babysitters Club graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. 

“I read the fourth one and I couldn’t put it down,” she said. 

“The kids get really excited about ‘Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas,’” said book fair chairwoman Lauren Rossman. “There’s a lot of great graphic novels, both for boys and girls.

“Elephant and Piggy books are always really popular with the younger kids,” she continued. “The gaming section is very popular.” 

Librarian Lynne Carlton confirmed that graphic novels appear to be the trend in reading but cautions against reading the genre exclusively. 

“The kids are obsessed with them,” said Carlton. “I believe (graphic novels) are one of the great reading genres for kids, but I also caution that they still need to be reading prose.” 

Experts say graphic novels can hook reluctant readers, or kids who don’t really like to read. For those kids, Carlton recommends taking the following approach. 

“Start a book by reading the first chapter with your child to hook them in,” she said. “Or read a book that you had as a child. 

“Bring them to the library, our public library, our school library, whatever. Get books into their hands,” she continued. “The graphic novel hooks them, but you need to keep them going by focusing on prose reading as well.” 

The El Granada School book fair is open to the public. Book fair hours are from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. as well as from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. 

A literacy event aimed at parents is also slated to take place during tonight’s book fair. Titled the “Build-a-Box” literacy event, the program is part of a districtwide initiative to deepen parent engagement. Build-a-Box is a workshop designed to help parents and guardians discover better ways to help children choose the right books by building a fun, creative box. 

“At El Granada, we decided to make family engagement around the theme of literacy,” said reading specialist Nicole Robinson. 

“We chose the book fair week because hopefully parents are attracted to the book fair, because it’s open (tonight). 

“What we’ll be doing is sharing a comprehension tool that they can use to help their children read at home,” she said. “It is a paper box that they put together with various strategies and questions on the sides about how to help their children with reading.” 

The Build-a-Box literacy event is slated for 6 tonight in the multiuse room at El Granada school. The book fair will operate with extended hours, from 5 to 8 p.m. Books can also be purchased online by visiting

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