Brown Middle School students faced their fears Thursday, eating bugs and touching strange objects – all for the love of books.
Librarian Patricia Johnson drew inspiration from reality television show Fear Factor, transforming the library with caution tape and creepy crawlies.
“I like watching Fear Factor, so I thought this would be a fun way to get the students motivated to read, which is really the end goal,” Johnson said. “They are very excited about it.”
Students received tokens for every two dollars they spent at the book fair, giving them access to the three different fear stations. To participate, students also had to have a permission slip signed by their parents.
The library, usually a beacon of silence, quickly filled with squeals and resounding “ews” from each station.
“The kids get grossed out, which is always fun to watch,” Johnson said.
Student Breanne Aiken braved the Fear of the Dark station, crawling through an obstacle course in the darkened book room with her friend Aubrey Sosa.
“I came today because it sounded like a lot of fun,” Aiken said. “I wanted to face my fear of the dark and also see what kind of books they had at the book fair.”
Her friend and fellow seventh-grader Aubrey Sosa loves to read, picking up a few titles to add to her list.
“I am reading a few books right now” Sosa said. “I am reading ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ and ‘A Child Called It.’ I am having a great time checking out the activities and am ready to do some challenges.”
“I was a little bit nervous when I rolled, but it landed on the side that let me pick,” Aljanabi said. “I chose the diaper and was relieved when I realized it was just chocolate.”
Parent Guadalupe Salazar was pulled to the tasting table as well, but by his daughter, sixth-grader Kaitlin Salazar where she downed a cricket like a champ.
“It was okay,” she said. “It didn’t really taste bad.”
Salazar was happy to bring Kaitlin to book fair to pick up some books and try something new.
“She told me about it yesterday afternoon, and I was pretty excited about it myself,” he said. “It’s a great idea to get the kids to read. They are definitely onto something. I think they should make it an annual thing.”