Category Archives: Reading the Library

Another Mini Book Tour

It’s so nice to be back home and reading to Bubba again!  We’ve already finished our bag of books that we picked up from the library before I left town, so we’re patiently waiting for 10:00am Monday morning (when our library opens) to head back to the library and pick up another bag of books.

On a different note, I found out that many of the books from the Illinois Reads program are not currently at our library, so I figured that while we wait for them to be delivered, we could start another “Mini Book Tour.”  Luckily, there’s no shortage of “mini tours” that we could take, so we’ll call the next one the “Monarch Award Mini Tour.”

Every year, the Illinois School Library Media Association administers the Monarch Award. It’s a K-3 Readers’ Choice Award in Illinois that’s presented annually to the author and/or illustrator of the book that’s voted by students in Kindergarten through Grade Three as their favorite from that year’s reading list. Click here to see this year’s reading list.

It looks like this will be a great mini tour to take, so I hope you’ll join us!  If you have any suggestions for other mini tours in the future, please leave your idea as a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Filed under Great Books, Mini Book Tour, Reading the Library


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

Mini Book Tour

The Illinois Reading Council started a statewide project this spring to promote reading for all Illinoisans called Illinois Reads. What they’ve done is they’ve chosen books on a variety of topics for six different age bands (from “birth to 4” to “Adult”).  Many of the stories were written by Illinois authors and include Spanish-language titles and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related books.

This kind of got me thinking about how I used to spend my time before meeting my wife… Right after I got out of the Army, my best friend and I used to go to Old Chicago a couple nights a week and work on their “World Beer Tour” and some of the seasonal mini-tours they had throughout the year.  Granted, Illinois Reads has nothing to do with Old Chicago’s beer tours, but the idea behind them seem similar – They both encourage you to take a break from your normal routine and try something unique.

There are only 6 books in each age band, so Bubba and I are going to venture off the path of selecting books from the library in alphabetical order (according to authors’ names) and read all the books from the “Birth to 4” and “K-2” age bands.

Feel free to join us on this little Illinois Reads “Book Tour” and let us know what you think of the books that were selected for the Illinois Reads program!  We’d love to hear from you!

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Filed under Great Books, Mini Book Tour, Reading the Library, Special Stuff

Our Special Time

I’ve found that the best time of day to read to Bubba is early in the morning when he first wakes up.  Bubba and I are always up by 6:30am, and the routine this summer has been to head straight to our four-seasons room right away.  Once we’re there, we shut the French doors, cuddle up on the couch, and start our reading.  I usually get through three or four books before he starts to squirm and wants to play with his toys.

There are definitely other times of day that work well, too, but they’re far less predictable.  For example, sometimes after playing at the park he wants to just lie down and relax… which makes for a perfect time to read together.  However, there are times after visiting the park that he wants to keep playing and wants nothing to do with relaxing and reading!

You might think that reading to him in bed right before he goes to sleep for the night would be ideal as well, but at just 21 months old, Bubba still sleeps in his crib (and at 6’3” and 270lbs, there’s no way I can lay down and read next to him in his bed).  I’ve tried reading to him in my bed and in our guest bedroom, but he’s WAY more interested jumping on the beds than reading a book with his daddy.

And that’s why the mornings are our special time to read together – He’s always ready for a story when he wakes up in the morning!

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Filed under Reading the Library, Special Stuff

Loving Goodreads

I’ve decided that I’m going to change the way I do the “Books Read” page on this blog… My wife recently introduced me the GoodReads app (and to, so I’m going to start utilizing it to keep track of all the books we read.

If you’ve never seen or heard of the GoodReads app, you definitely need to check it out!  The app makes it super easy to keep track of all the books you’ve read and want to read – All you need to do is scan the barcode of a book with your smart phone or tablet, and it finds the book, lets you rate it, lets you write a review, etc.

I think I’m going to reserve the “Books Read” page for listing books that Bubba and I find to be particularly outstanding or useful.  This will save me a bunch of time, which means I’ll have more time to read to Bubba!

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Well, it’s been a while since I last posted about our journey… and the reason for that is because I felt like I failed miserably during the 4th quarter of the school year.  There were many weeks that Bubba and I didn’t even step foot in the library during the months of April and May because I was so busy with work (don’t ever tell me that teachers have it easy because they only work 8:00am-3:00pm!)

It’s not that I didn’t read to Bubba, though.  I still read to him every night, but the books I read him were from his stack of favorites that we keep in his bedroom and in our four-seasons room – we weren’t reading any “new” library books.

Luckily, the summer came and we got back into our routine of walking to the library together every couple days to load up his stroller with reading materials.

By the way, how come nobody ever told me that most strollers have a convenient storage area under the child’s seat?! I had been carrying all these books by hand when I could’ve had it so much easier! Oh well, just another lesson I’ve learned by trying to read every picture book in our library to my son!

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