February 6, 2019

Third grader negotiates a deal with Scholastic for free books


Ah, the Scholastic book fair! Photo via flickr

Joycita Rose Malrey Lucas knows how to negotiate. From Joanne Klimovich Harrop at the Pittsburg Tribune-Review comes the story of a Pittsburgh third-grader who managed to get Scholastic to send her entire class free books.

According to the report, when Joycita was rummaging through the books at a church yard sale, she came across a pristine copy of The Three Wishes, retold by M. Jean Craig. The 50-year-old copy, published by Scholastic, was in brand new condition. Joycita mailed the book, along with a letter, to Scholastic’s chief executive officer Richard Robinson, offering him a deal. In exchange for the copy of The Three Wishes, she asked Robinson to send a new Scholastic book each month of the school year for all of the children in her third-grade class.

She wrote:

I am writing to you today because I have a proposal for you. I bought The Three Wishes book in a church yard sale, and it’s in perfect condition. No ear marks, no stains or folds. It doesn’t even look like it was read before I read it.

My school is an inner city school. Though we have the Scholastic book fairs and some of our teachers do the monthly ordering—which is my favorite, because it’s like getting a Christmas gift all year long—I have friends in my class that can’t afford to buy the books. I feel bad for them. I hope that you would feel the same sir.

The 9-year-old book lover told the Tribune-Review she expected a 50/50 chance of response. Robinson did indeed respond, giving the class books for the months of January and February, allowing the students to choose the book which they most wanted to read.

With great ideas at the tender age of 9, Joycita is sure to go far in life, especially with pearls of wisdom like this: 

I love books because you can’t get everything you get in a book from a video. It’s not as good. It is so much better to sit down and hold a book in your hands and read it. There are hundreds of books to choose from.



Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.