Chelsea Park Book Fairy welcomes students back to library

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – A chance discovery online and a handful of old books were all Chelsea Park Elementary School librarian Ashley Grainger needed to create a character students have embraced this year.

Grainger was scrolling through book fair ideas on Pinterest when she stumbled upon a book fairy costume she thought would be a creative way to welcome students back to school and generate excitement about visiting the library.

“Last year was probably the hardest year of my 17-year career,” Grainger said. “Everybody experienced a hard year last year, and I just felt like in the library we did not have the fun that we normally have. I saw this costume, and I thought that would be a cute idea to put the fun back in here again.”

Grainger crafted a skirt and wings from old books that could not be checked out anymore.

When students saw her in costume for the first time, they were intrigued.

“The kindergarteners were just like, ‘Oh, my goodness, what is going on?’” Grainger said. “They were so excited.”

The Book Fairy talked to the students about how fun reading can be when they use their imagination, how books can take them anywhere they want to go and how magical they are.

“We talked about a magic rug we use to take our trips when we read our stories,” she said. “It was a lot of fun. Once they figured out what was going on, they were all in.”

The Book Fairy isn’t the first character Grainger has brought to life. Last year, she donned scrubs as the “Book Doctor” and talked about how to take care of books.

As the school’s technology coordinator, Grainger also talks to students about online safety and leads various STEM activities.

The library also hosts two book fairs each year.

“It’s just a whirlwind of a little bit of everything,” Grainger said. “The library is the center of the school, literally and in theory as well. I want them to want to come to the library and love being in here.”

As for the Chelsea Park Book Fairy, Grainger feels confident she will return to visit with all of her young friends again.

“I definitely think the Book Fairy will have to come back,” Grainger said. “Everybody has been asking about that. We’re going to have a good year this year.”