Carroll Community College holds annual book fair to raise money for students

Carroll Community College transformed into a book store Saturday in hopes of raising money to provide scholarships for its students.

As part of the annual Penguin Random House Book Fair at the college, visitors were treated to a discount book sale, a silent auction, and children's reading sessions and activities.


The fair was busy and full of people who were there for their first time such as Lisa Heffner and her son Austin, 11, of Mount Airy. Heffner went to the book fair to learn more about Carroll Kids camps and stayed to check out the books available for purchase, she said.

"I think it's great," Heffner said.


Others were there for their second or third times, like Westminster family the Hautots.

Laci Hautot brought her two sons, Luc, 6, and Kai, 2, to the fair to check out the books and some of the characters.

"The books," Hautot said. "My boys love to read and Luc was excited. He found a book about 'Minecraft.' "

Money raised from the book fair goes to funding scholarships for Carroll Community College students, said Steven Wantz, executive director of the Carroll Community College Foundation.


Wantz was not sure how much the fair had raised as of noon Saturday, but said he predicts it will raise about $60,000. About 800 to 900 people came to the book fair's kick-off event Friday, and Wantz estimated about 4,000 visitors to the fair Saturday.

"I think people understand the money supports our students, and people in our community care about that," he said.

One of the more popular features was a book signing by Judith Schachner, author and illustrator of the "Skippyjon Jones" series of children's book. Darryl Robertson, branch manager at the North Carroll library, said he went to get books signed when the line had died down and still waited 30 minutes to see the author.

Skippyjon Jones, the main character of Schachner's book series, made his debut at the book fair where children could give him a hug or take a picture with him.

"Skippyjon Jones" books were also for sale, attracting many of the book fair's younger visitors.

There were plenty of children activities for the younger visitors. Children could listen to Robertson do a live reading of three different books, participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics tasks or jump around in a bounce house.

Robertson led two children's readings, the first at noon and the second at 2 p.m. For the first one, he read "Old McDonald Had a Truck," "Little Quack" and "How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends?" to a small crowd of approximately 20 kids.

In between each of the books, Robertson lead the children through songs that included dancing.

Robertson also brought his family to the fair and took time to meet the authors at the event.

"It's a great opportunity for us because we don't always get to see the person who creates the books we love," Robertson said.

Robertson has lead reading sessions for at least five years, he said.

"It's a great community event. Any way to get kids and parents excited about books is important," Robertson said.

To encourage people to read, the book fair also offered a free children's book to kids.

Rob Vaughn, of Westminster, brought his 6-year-old daughter Wynn to get her free book.

"She loves to read, so we came out and bought a couple books," he said.

Wynn picked out a "Room on the Broom" sticker book because "I like it," she said.

Despite being a book fair, the community event did not only focus on literature. For $3, children could test their science and math skills by attempting to build a tower out of marshmallows and pasta or create slime.

The activities were put on by the STEM and American Chemistry Society clubs at the college. Students helped younger students with the various activities, which allowed them to gain leadership experience, said Raza Khan, a professor at the college.

"We're doing this as part of a service-learning project and the idea of learning beyond the classroom," Khan said.

Westminster resident Alex Whitney brought his two children, Ashlynn and AJ, to the book fair and both took the opportunity to try their hands at the various STEM activities. The activities gave the two Cranberry Station Elementary School students a chance to use creative thinking, he said.

"It's better than [them] sitting watching TV and playing video games," Whitney said.

Ashlynn built a puff car — a car built out of paper and lifesavers that was powered by blowing on it — while AJ used a computer simulator to build a bridge.

Ashlynn said that her favorite STEM activity was creating slime.

"So far, I like the slime because I like getting dirty and it was slimy," she said.

The slime was a popular activity for children, Khan said.

Declan, a 6-year-old Piney Ridge Elementary School student, echoed Ashlynn's comments about the slime.

"It feels slimy and also feels hard," he said.

Khan and his students also offered the chance for children to try their hands at engineering, a task that caught the attention of Mount Airy Elementary School student Cole Dwyer, 10. His mother, Cynthia Dwyer, of Mount Airy, brought him to the fair so that he could participate in the STEM activities.

Cole attempted to build a tower out of marshmallows and pasta.

"I'd say the hardest part is I wish the marshmallows were bigger and I had more pasta sticks to stabilize it," he said.

Cole's mom planned to stop at the store on their way home to buy marshmallows and pasta so he could try to build more towers.

"I think it's really important that they combine the science and math and technology to enrich their activities. And engineering," Dwyer said.