We live in a world where iPads and handheld gaming devices are all the rage, so sometimes it’s hard to encourage children to pick up books made of actual paper. But help is on the way. A guy named Matt Finch has devised an all-ages multi-player role-playing game that mimics the events of a book fair. It’s called Book Fair to make things super easy. In the game, children form teams which are like mini publishing companies whose goal is to acquire awesome books (given their limited resources) and then market them to their “hometowns” by creating posters, games, videos, or whatever else they think would persuade potential buyers. In test games, children played as ninjas protecting and disseminating knowledge to help their kingdom prosper.
Book Fair has been hosted in libraries, schools, bookshops, and book groups, and the result has been eye-opening. By engaging with a wide range of books in an interactive environment, children can find out about authors and exciting new stories they wouldn’t ordinarily come across. They can physically touch the books and sniff the pages. They get to use their imagination to create the most eye-grabbing posters for a given book, their business brains to figure out which books to acquire and who the best markets are, and their all-around creativity to make a show-stopping book package.
If you’re interested in seeing what it’s all about, Book Fair can be downloaded here. It can be played in very large groups (as in 100 kids split into teams of 10) or small groups; whatever your situation calls for. The best thing is you’ll see that the (very simple) instructions really do encourage role-play adventures!
I’m a fully-formed adult, and I want to play that right now please.