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AMC Gives Books A 2nd Chance

March, 2008
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Despite rain and puddles, the March 8 Annual Book Fair hosted by the American Women’s Club of Shanghai drew a big crowd at the lobby and hallways of the Seasons Villas Clubhouse in Pudong, Shanghai.

  Bookshelves lined one side of the room, genres and prices clearly labeled. On the other side of the room were tables, boxes and baskets full of children’s books. Shopping baskets were full to the brim with used books as some women and men juggled not one but two baskets in their hands while keeping track of their children. They all had the same mission: to find as many good reads as possible.

  Finding good new books for children is a difficult task for expat parents in Shanghai. So, used books in good condition are always good alternatives. So many people keep their eyes and ears open for book fairs like this to indulge in armfuls of old books.

  Third grader Abby Myers found herself looking deep into the pile of children’s books on one of the tables. At the other corner of the busy table, hidden among other children and adults was her sister, Molly. Both love reading and reveled in the treasures they found in a short amount of time. “I like all kinds of books, this is fun,” Myers said of the fair.

  “For expats it is very hard to find books. We don’t want to haul books when we travel back to our native countries; with used books we can always donate them,” said Arlene Vermylen, vice president of the club.

According to her, book sales proceeds will go to the Catalyst Foundation as well as Shanghai Sunrise. The Catalyst Foundation supports women disadvantaged by economical and social changes by giving them the means to make different products such as knitted scarves, placemats and many other items. Shanghai Sunrise caters more to underprivileged students’ education.

  “Now, if only there could be more fairs like this in a year,” exclaimed one mother.

  Indeed, book fairs are not a new idea, but certainly a popular one.

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