Author Plans Book Fair for Preteens
For many of our youngsters in the Preteen Program at D.C. General, Rachel Renée Russell and her daughter Nikki Russell are simply two of Playtime’s Play Rangers, who volunteer every Wednesday evening. But to fans of children’s books, Rachel is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling book series, Dork Diaries, and Nikki is the illustrator.
The pair recently organized a Book Fair for the preteens by purchasing a large selection of books – including the Dork Diaries – that the children could buy using “book bucks” earned during a quiz about the books. The preteens split into three groups and worked together to answer questions, earning bucks for teamwork as well as getting the correct answer. After the quiz, each child received a bag and, using their money, filled it with about a dozen books.
The preteens eagerly scurried from table to table selecting their favorite books, some immediately sitting down to read. “I’m about to read all these books,” one boy noted as he stuffed several into his bag.
Rachel planned the event after a discussion with the preteens about books during program the week before. Initially, the children said they didn’t like to read, but when Rachel asked them to name any book they wanted, the youngsters came up with a long list. So Rachel decided to buy the array of books and create a fair.
“I’m excited ’cause the kids are excited,” said one mom who got so caught up in the event that she ended up staying instead of taking a break for herself. “We got no TV in our room, so this will keep my daughter busy. She loves to read.”
While waiting for Nikki to sign a book, one little girl asked why the author and illustrator were at D.C. General when they could be anywhere else. “Why come to a shelter?” she asked.
Nikki said: “This is the best place to be, with all of you. I love coming here.”
“Don’t put yourself down,” added Rachel. “You all are amazing and definitely worth our time to be here.”
Thank you so much to Rachel and Nikki for creating such a fantastic event for our preteens!