Paperbacks, hard covers and soft cover books were spread out across the gymnasium floor at the Lehighton Area Middle School on Friday and everyone - young and old were excited at the prospect of finding some great reading material at the 7th Annual Book Swap.
"We may not have had as many books as other years, but we have as many people as last year," said Ron Rabenold, a teacher at the Lehighton Area Middle School. Even if there were less books and it certainly didn't seem so, there were plenty to go around as there were still books remaining at 5:30 p.m. when the remaining books were given out without an exchange book. Any remaining books were donated to the Lehigh Valley Cops and Kids Program to support their program to provide books to book needy families in the Lehigh Valley.
Behind the scenes planning for the annual swap began earlier this year, when book swap posters invited everyone to bring a book and take a book at the annual swap. The event was sponsored by the Lehighton Area Education Association, Pennsylvania Education Association and the National Education Association.
"This is a great way to help our community," said Ron Rabenold, who initiated the program and helps coordinate it with the staff and students at the school.
"Parents that take books are showing the value of reading," said Rabenold. "It validates that reading is important and the book swap is a great way to renew your reading material. It motivates you to read."
While Rabenold may be the heart of the program, he has plenty of help with staff members and students who help collect, sort and display the books for swapping.
"This is great for the community," said Jake Molchany, fifth grade teacher. "It brings everyone together. It gets the kids excited about reading."
Some of the attendees were Sheila Haupt and her four children who were certainly excited about the swap.
"Oh no," said Haupt at one point. "We gave that book away and it's back."
Haupt said that her family brought 30 books to swap, but were taking home many more.
"This is great," she said. "But I'm only one person and I'm not sure that I can carry them all."
Haupt had a box full of books her children had collected.
That scene of parents engaging with their children and books was taking place throughout the gym wherever your eyes followed. There were many children's' heads bend over the books as they sat on the floor and read.
For Christina Donner, it was a time for her to meet Thing One (Faye Halavty) and Thing Two (Kaye Miller) who were greeting fans at the swap.
Thing One and Thing Two were introduced to children in 1957 when Dr. Seuss wrote the "The Cat in the Hat," the first book of his series of children's books. In the book, the Cat brings a cheerful, exotic and exuberant form of chaos to a household of two young kids, brother and sister, one rainy day while their mother leaves them unattended. The Cat performs all sorts of wacky tricks, the Cat at one point balances a teacup, some milk, a cake, three books, the fish, a rake, a toy boat, toy man, red fan, and his umbrella, while he's on a ball to the chagrin of the fish, to amuse the children, with mixed results. Then, the Cat gets a box from outside. Inside the box are two creatures named Thing One and Thing Two, who begin to fly kites in the house.