Category Archives: Lots of Laughs

Punching Authors

I recently got back from the Illinois Reading Conference, and was able to get a bunch of books signed for Bubba! I always store these signed books in our guest bedroom (so I can give them to Bubba as gifts when special occasions come along), but I’ve been adding so many signed books to this collection that I’m running out of places to store them all… I may need to get a bigger room!


Anyway, I thought I would just share a picture of some of the new books Bubba will have to look forward to in the future:


I also thought I’d share some of the pictures I took with authors while I was there:



I never tell them that I’m going to smile and point, but I may need to provide authors with some sort of a warning in the future… Jay Asher (author of 13 Reasons Why) thought I was going to punch him when went to point at him! I feel really bad that I startled him, but he had a great sense of humor about it. I Tweeted my apologies, and this was his response:



Needless to say, I had a good time… and I can’t wait to give Bubba these books at just the right time in the future!

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Filed under Great Authors, Great Books, Lots of Laughs, Special Stuff

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


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


I think I’m going through withdrawal symptoms… I woke up this morning ready to read to Bubba, but I didn’t have any picture books and I didn’t have my Bubba!

I’m out of town right now and I’m not able to take Bubba to the library OR read to him!  Luckily, it’s only for a couple of days this week and a couple days next week… I miss our reading time together!

I guess now is as good a time as any to update how many books we’ve read so far this July.  As of the 10th, we have read 97 different library books (I don’t count the books , so we have been averaging close to ten books a day this summer.  I’m sure we won’t be able to keep up this pace during the school year, but it’s making up for all the days we skipped last April and May (and these days that I’m out of town).

It will be nice to get back home and get back into our routine of reading in the mornings, though!

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Filed under Lots of Laughs, Reading the Library, Special Stuff

Appreciating the Bad Books

One of the librarians at the library we visit commented the other day that it usually doesn’t take us very long for us to pick out our books.  I told her it’s because we’re going in order (by authors’ last names) – I don’t have to look around for specific books… We’ll get to all of them eventually!

The problem with doing it this way is that from time to time we end up with “Barbie” books (and other princess-type books aimed at young girl readers) in our bags of books.  These “girl” books end up sitting on the couch for days (and sometimes even weeks) as I procrastinate.  When I eventually do read them aloud, I struggle greatly through them.

Bag of Books

Above: A typical bag of books from our library

I I don’t struggle with them just because Bubba and I are both male – In many cases, the stories are just plain awful!  Bubba and I just finished reading a Barbie book that had no plot at whatsoever!  All it did was name and describe Barbie’s friends!  Ugh!

Barbie books

Above: Some of the Barbie books we have struggled through

Granted, not all of the Barbie books are that bad, but they don’t get much better, either.  Take for example the Barbie “Mermaid Tale” book that had Merliah surfing one second, her hair changing color (to pink, of course) the next second, and then changing back and forth from human to mermaid while saving her long-lost mermaid family.  It’s almost enough to make a guy HATE reading!

I’m sure that girls who read the “boy” books (like Superman, Batman, and Spiderman books) have the same problem, too.  I even struggle reading some of them to Bubba!  I’m not sure why, but the stories aimed at one gender tend to be very poorly “typed” (because as Truman Capote once said, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”)

We get through these bad books, though… and they make us appreciate other books SO MUCH MORE!  I guess you have to have to experience the bad books to really appreciate the great books!


Filed under Lots of Laughs, Reading the Library, Special Stuff

Bubba’s Decision

Bubba and I are almost a week into our journey, and we have already read more than 50 books together… Well, that’s not exactly accurate.  I guess I should take a step back and say that Bubba has decided that reading only library books is NOT an option. He made this decision pretty clear earlier in the week – after we had only read about 5 books!

I think he was beginning to have some withdrawal symptoms from not hearing is favorite stories!  It was like he was on his own little mission – a mission to listen to a book that HE picked out!  In this case, it was The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I tried to read him a new library book, but he would push the book away and shove HIS book into my chest to get me to read it to him.  After trying a couple times to get him interested in the library book, I finally gave up and read Bubba his book.

Of course, this opened the floodgate and we are now reading his favorite books along with our library books each day!  I think I’ve counted 8 readings of both The Very Hungry Caterpillar and My Precious Little Bear, 5 readings of The Snowy Day, 7 readings of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, 3 or 4 readings of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, and 5 readings of Melissa Everett’s Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.

A stack of some of Bubba's favorite books

A stack of some of Bubba’s favorite books

Luckily, I’ve been on break and I’ve been able to read to him as much as he wants.  Next week I go back to work, so we’ll have to wait and see how many library (and “Bubba Favorite”) books we can get through when teaching takes up the majority of my day!


Filed under Great Books, Lots of Laughs, Reading the Library, Updates