KGUN9 visited Nash Elementary School in Midtown to meet some of the students taking four books home as part of this year’s winter Scholastic Book Fair.

Thanks to donors and community support for the ‘If You Give a Child a Book’ campaign, Ms. Annabelle Fine’s 3rd-grade class will get to fly with dragons and solve scary mysteries.

Student Pablo Martnez was excited to show off his brand new books. One was about sports and famous athletes, but his other choices revealed his favorite genre: scary stories.

“I like scary movies!” he said. “My mom doesn’t, though. (I’m like) ‘Mom! You want to watch a scary movie?’ She’s like, ‘No.'” For someone like Pablo, having all this choice is a big deal. Ms. Fine said he and his peers are in a very important stage in their education.

“In third grade, that’s when that big shift comes when you’re reading to learn,” Fine said. So, what better way to learn than by losing yourself in your favorite genre?

If a kid feels overwhelmed by the dozens of titles, Fine said she’s done the homework to give each student a personal recommendation.

“I kind of showed them a little bit, to guide them” she said, “because I wanted to make sure that they could see that, because I know all of what they love.

To see those eyes light up, it was so cool.”

Jessica Jarrett, Nash Elementary’s principal, said she’s a living testament herself, to that moment when a student struggling to read at grade level finds that one story that changes their life.

“When we give them the opportunity to have that choice, it empowers them,” she said.

“When I discovered Roald Dahl and ‘Matilda,’ my whole world opened up, and I finally made that connection. I see that reflected over and over again in children when we give them the opportunity to choose.”

Because of the community’s support to the campaign through the Scripps-Howard Fund, the students at Nash will have more genres and titles to choose from later this year.

Jarrett said with the money raised, the children will get to pick a total of eight new books. They will pick the last four when the next book fair starts in May, before the kids go on summer break.