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Saint Mary’s promotes children’s reading through book fair

| Friday, November 17, 2023

In the upper level of the Student Center, Saint Mary’s College is holding the PaperPie Learning book fair this week. The sale, which raises money for the Learning Tree, ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and will continue from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. 

Tearsa Smith, an educational services representative for PaperPie Learning, recently took over running the annual event. PaperPie Learning is a company focused on providing books and resources to make learning enjoyable to children of all ages.

Fifty percent of all proceeds from the book fair go to the Learning Tree, the resource center in Madeleva Hall for those studying to be teachers.

“The books are designed to get kids excited about reading and learning,” Smith said. “A lot of our books are interactive in some form or fashion, so that they extend the learning.”

The book fair includes puzzles, toys and, of course, books — all geared towards encouraging children to engage in reading and learning. One product, the “Shine a Light” series, is designed to motivate kids to think about the natural world, with pages that reveal a second image, like an X-ray, when held against a light source.

“There’s no way I could pinpoint a specific just absolute favorite because there’s just so many of them,” Smith said. “We have something for just about everybody.” 

Freshman business administration and marketing major Emma Busk said she heard about the book fair through her friends and a Saint Mary’s email.

“I went because I just love books. I’ve always grown up loving reading, and I was just super interested in what they had to offer,” she said.

Busk said she most enjoyed the wide variety of books present at the event and the way they engage kids in learning.

“I wish I had something like that growing up,” she said, adding that she views children’s literature as necessary for a child’s development.

“I’ve always found reading very therapeutic, especially as a kid. It’s just such a nice way to pass time and escape other things,” Busk said. She said that reading has been a way to connect with her younger niece and nephews because reading acts as a bridge with which she can engage with them.

Smith said her favorite part of book fairs is when the children leaving “hugging a book.”

“They’ll find that book that’s their book and they’ll walk away hugging that book,” she said.

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