Monthly Archives: December 2013

My Guys Read Club Made Me An Armed Robbery Suspect

A while back, I wrote a post about starting up a Guys Read Club at my school, and (at that time) I thought only positive things would come from the club…  I never could have imagined that it would play a part in me becoming a suspect in an armed robbery case!

Here’s what happened:

My Guys Read Club has been going very well, so I applied for some grants to help us establish a “Guys Only” section in our library – and I got a call one morning from the Rock Island Kiwanis Club to see if I could come to their meeting at noon (that same day) to pick up a $500 check for the Guys Read Club.

Needless to say, I was excited about what this meant for our club, so I called my mom to see if she could watch Bubba while I picked up the check.  She was more than willing (like always) to take care of him, so I dropped him off and started driving to the Botanical Center where the Kiwanis meeting was being held.

On my way there, I thought I would send a text to my principal to let him know that we got the grant, so I pulled into a park’s parking lot and started to type up the text.  A few words in, I looked up from my phone and noticed a police car driving slowly by – and the officer inside was staring at me.  I didn’t think much about it at first, but when the officer pulled his car into the parking lot, got out of his car, and started walking towards me, I was a little curious.

I rolled down the window to see what he wanted, and next thing I know his hand was moving towards his gun and he’s shouting at me to, “put both hands on the steering wheel!”  After giving him my ID and explaining why I was there, he told me that there was an armed robbery in the area and that I matched the suspect’s description… and I was free to go.

Armed Robbery

I never did finish the text I was about to send, but I did see this article the next day:

I couldn’t help but smile after reading the article (considering the suspect’s description said he was mid-20s and weighed 175 lbs), and thinking about the whole situation.  I never could have imagined my Guys Read Club would cause me to be a suspect in an armed robbery case… I wonder what else might be in store for me because of the club!


Filed under Classroom Connections, Lots of Laughs, Special Stuff

Beds, and Lights, and Fines! Oh My!

This past week, Bubba finally got his “big-boy” bed, and I couldn’t be happier!  I had been looking forward to reading him stories in bed since the day he was born, so you can imagine how excited I was that first night!  He was excited, too… although it could’ve had more to do with the bed than me reading to him in the bed.

Mikey Bed

Unfortunately, the first couple nights were hard on my eyes because the lighting wasn’t right.  We ended up stopping by Target and bought a lamp that clips onto the headboard… so lighting is no longer an issue at bedtime.

Besides lighting the pages of books, the lamp turns out to be great for making hand shadows and getting the characters (and pants) to glow in the dark in Dr. Seuss’ book, What Was I Scared Of?: A Glow-in–the-Dark Encounter.

What Was I Scared Of?

I’m definitely getting more reading in with Bubba now that he has his own bed, but I haven’t been reading him books from the library.  With the colder weather, snow, holidays, end-of-the-quarter duties at school, etc., I haven’t been taking Bubba to the library.  In fact, I had my first fine (for returning books late) since we started our journey this past spring… a $5.50 fine!  I guess that’s not bad considering we’ve read nearly 1,000 books and have spent less than $6 to do it.

We need to get back into the old routine, though… if for no other reason than to get me a little exercise to burn off all the Christmas cookies I’ve eaten the past couple weeks!  Maybe that will be one of my New Year’s resolutions… What resolutions are you thinking about making?


Filed under Reading the Library, Special Stuff, Updates

A Wonderful Surprise

Months ago, Bubba and I were reading through a bag of books when we came across a couple good ones by Jill Esbaum.  I always enjoy reading the back flap of dust jackets to learn more about the author and illustrator, so I was surprised to find that Mrs. Esbaum lives on a farm just minutes from where Bubba and I live!

I ended up going to Mrs. Esbaum’s website to learn more about her, and I was amazed to see how many books she’s had published!  There were both fiction and nonfiction, and they all looked interesting!  Of course, our little library didn’t have all of them, so I placed a “hold” online and within a week or two, they arrived at our library.  Bubba and I got started on them right away, and it wasn’t long before I was thinking, I need to see if she could come to my school and talk to my students!

Next thing you know, I was back on her website to see if she does author visits… and she does!  After emailing back and forth a few times, she agreed to come speak to my kids (at a very reasonable price) in early December!  For the next month or so, I spent 15-20 minutes each day after lunch reading her books to my class to prepare them for her visit.  The kids loved them so much that, not only did we read most of her books, we also looked at her website and found an interview she had given online to learn more about her.

The kids were really excited when the day finally came for her to visit the class (it was the first day in a LONG time that I didn’t have a single student absent)! Mrs. Esbaum told the kids some great “behind-the-scenes” stories about her books, read one of her new books that comes out in January, shared a copy of another book that comes out in May next year, and answered all the questions the kids could think to ask.  Not only that, she signed more than 60 books (one for each student in 1st grade at my school – and a few more for Bubba and my niece and nephew) before she left!

Needless to say, my students and I were thrilled to have such a kind and talented author visit us!  I’m already thinking about asking her to come back every year to speak to each of my new classes… and you can bet I’ll make sure Bubba’s teachers and classmates get the same experience!

It’s cool to think that it all happened because of this little journey Bubba and I started earlier this year… I wonder what other surprises are in store for us as we continue trying to read every picture book in our library!

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Filed under Classroom Connections, Great Authors, Great Books


Lately, Bubba’s been having me to read a certain book (The Snowy Day) to him over and over.  Normally, I wouldn’t mind this, but this particular book is really starting to get on my nerves!

Maybe it’s because the book is a constant reminder that snow is falling here in Illinois right now… Yes, that’s got to be it!  I didn’t mind the book over the summer when there was no possibility of snow, but now I can’t stand the thought of reading it again!

I’m one of those people who hate snow!  I treat the word “snow” like the other 4-letter “S-word” when I’m in my classroom… the kids are NOT allowed to say it when I’m around!

I think I’m going to have to take the book over to my parents’ house!  I know what you’re thinking… “Mike, getting rid of the book won’t stop the snow from falling outside,” but it’s the only option I have left!  Bubba is showing no signs of slowing down his desire listen to the book – and I can’t take it anymore!

Luckily, my mom loves snow.  She’ll probably love reading it to him!


Filed under Lots of Laughs

Updates and Excuses

I’ve got to admit, I haven’t done as well as I would like to during the past couple months (when it comes to reading to Bubba).  I could always use the holidays (like Halloween and Thanksgiving), being out of town, my FIRST LEGO League team, work, or a number of other things as excuses, but really… excuses aren’t going to help.  I’m just going to have to do better.

With that said, we’ve still been averaging 4.6 new books per day during October and November (that’s a total of 281 books).  It’s not bad, but I know it could be better.

My wife and I are going to be transitioning Bubba from a crib to a real bed very soon, so I think that will help out a bunch!  I’m really looking forward to reading a few books in bed before tucking him each night J

My goal is still to read 5 new books each day, though, so hopefully I’ll be able to report in early January that I met the goal throughout December!


Filed under Updates