Fourth grader Aaron Lake wants all of his fellow students at North Oakview Elementary to be able to take home and even keep books.
With guidance from resource teacher Krysta King, Aaron opened and manages the school’s G.E.T. Books store — Give, Exchange, Take — just outside King’s classroom. The space is stocked with books students can peruse anytime with their teacher’s permission.
“People don’t always have the money to buy books,” Aaron said. And sure, there’s the library for borrowing books. But at G.E.T. Books, he said, “they’re theirs forever if they want. For fah-ree.”
Aaron admits he was very much not a fan of reading until about third grade. He can’t put his finger on what turned it around, but “now I love reading,” he said. “If you give me a new book, you are not going to see me for a long time.”
He estimates he’s read the “Big Nate” book series “about 10 times,” he said. “They’re hilarious.”
“I’m more into nonfiction if it’s, like, about war. I’m really a history guy,” Aaron explained.
King said the bookstore idea came out of her goal to come up with an activity to cultivate responsibility in Aaron. School librarians helped shape the idea, she said, and Aaron “has a newfound love for books, so we wanted to run with it.”
She and Aaron came up with a proposal to present to Principal Jason Hoogenstyn, and the pair met with and won approval in late fall. She credits Hoogenstyn with coming up with the store’s name.
Then King put out a single request for donations. Hundreds of books poured in, and Aaron got to work organizing them in color-coded plastic tubs according to type. They include graphic novels in the green tub — “those are really popular,” he said — as well as picture books, which go in the blue tub; and beginning and regular chapter books, in the red tub.
Being a store manager is “pretty fun,” Aaron said. “It’s a lot of responsibility. Especially to keep it neat.”
His biggest vision for the future of the GET Books store is that it continue next year. Aaron will transfer to Highlands Middle for fifth grade.
The good news for his successor, “if I could have a replacement,” Aaron said, “is that most of the time it runs itself.”