Is It Normal to Know Your Library Card Number By Heart?

Here’s an interesting fact about me: I never lose or misplace anything!  Seriously… just ask my wife!  Wait, maybe you better not!

I seem to be losing/misplacing things a lot lately… so when I couldn’t find my wallet the other day, I was more than a little concerned!

I’d had my wallet at a restaurant on Saturday evening, but on Sunday morning I couldn’t find it anywhere!

Unfortunately, the restaurant that we had dinner at was closed on Sunday, so I spent the entire day searching the house and thinking about all the things I would need to do if my wallet wasn’t at the restaurant when I called on Monday morning.

Like most people, I thought about how I would need to cancel my credit and debit cards and get a new driver’s license (and I really liked the picture on my license!)…

I love this picture, but my wife has never been a big fan of it!

I love this picture, but my wife has never been a big fan of it!

but the first thing I thought about when I thought I might have lost everything was replacing my library card!

That’s right, the first thing I thought about was replacing my library card!

library card

To be more precise, I thought about how I would need to learn a new library card number if I had to replace it.  Is that normal?  Does anybody else know their library card number by heart?  I can’t be the only person, right?!

Luckily, my wallet was still there when I called the restaurant the next day so I didn’t need to get a new library card (or driver’s license)…  Disaster averted!


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Excited About Signed Books

A few weeks ago at the Illinois Reading Conference, I had the opportunity to add a bunch of books to Bubba’s signed books collection. I always enjoy adding to his collection, but I’m going to have to come up with a new place to keep them all because his collection is growing pretty big!


Some of the books that were signed for Bubba

Some of the books that were signed for Bubba


There were a TON of amazing authors at the conference, including Mary Pope Osborne, Jon Scieszka, Eric Litwin, James Patterson, Andrea Beaty, Nic Bishop, Candace Fleming, and Dan Gutman! It’s hard not to be excited with a line-up like that… and whenever I have the opportunity to take a picture with an author, I always use my “excited face” (because my students get excited when they see how excited I am to meet an author)… so here are some of my favorites from the conference:


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Besides getting books signed for Bubba and pictures taken with some amazing authors, I also got to listen to many of those authors talk about their books, their writing process, and their personal stories.


It was an amazing couple of days!

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An Amazing Act of Generosity

A couple months ago I wrote a blog about how my Guys Read Club caused me to become a suspect in an armed robbery case. A lot of people seemed to like that post… including Bethany Barton (an author and illustrator from California).

After reading my blog, Bethany sent me a message on Twitter and asked if my Guys Read Club would like a signed copy of one of her books… and long story short, she sent the kids a signed copy her latest book, This Monster Cannot Wait!

Barton 1

Barton 2

I don’t know of any other authors who would do something like this, so please consider visiting her website and supporting her!

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Revolutionary Website for Parents – A Guest Blog

If you have a chance today, head over to The Onmibus Publishing’s website… I wrote a guest blog about a revolutionary new service for parents that’s like Netflix (but instead of getting movies delivered to your door, you get LEGO kits)!  I’m not sure how long the post will be on their website, so go check it out!  Here’s the link:

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When Not Following Directions Makes Me Happy

The following is a recap of the events that occurred the evening of Monday, January 27th:



It’s getting late and I’m starting to get upset at Bubba… I put him to bed quite a while ago, and I just heard him moving around out of his bed – AGAIN!


As I walk to his bedroom, I can’t help but think, “This is the third time I’ve had to go to his room and tell him to lay back down!  I’m getting sick of all this playing around when he should be sleeping!”


I open the door, turn on the light, and enter the room.  At this point, I am planning on using my “teacher-face” and scolding Bubba (because I expect to catch him playing with his toys)… but minutes later I’m walking away from his room with a huge smile on my face.


What happened?  Well… when the light went on, I saw exactly what he was doing – he was at one of his bookshelves trying to pick out a book so he could bring it back to his bed and “read” it with his reading lamp!


The look on his face was priceless… It was as if I caught him with his hand in the cookie jar!  He ran straight back into his bed, tried to get rid of the evidence that he was using his reading lamp, and pulled the covers up over his head.


At this point, how could I be upset?!  I walked over, pulled the covers down from his head, and gave him a big kiss on the forehead before turning out the light and walking away.


I’m sure he thought (and still thinks) that he was in big trouble because I caught him out of bed… but in all honesty, I couldn’t have been happier!  If he ends up being one of those kids who stays up late reading a book under his covers with a flashlight, I’ll be one proud papa!


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Another Day, Another Guest Blog…

If you head over to The Omnibus Publishing‘s website, you can find a piece I recently wrote for a guest post about Guys Read.  Here’s the link: 

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Guest Blogging

If you have a chance, head over to Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s blog today… I wrote a guest blog about Encouraging Engineering and Science Practices with Picture Books that’s running right now!  Here’s the link: 


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Where’s Waldo Helped Me Find Purpose

When Bubba and I reached the library shelf with all the Where’s Waldo? books, I was excited (to say the least)!  I absolutely LOVED the Where’s Waldo? books as a child, and I couldn’t wait to get reacquainted with them.  There was only one problem – I was confident that Bubba wasn’t ready for the rigors of trying to find the red-and-white-striped-shirt man.


The reason I was so sure was because I, myself, had a hard time trying to find Waldo as a third grader, and Bubba isn’t even in preschool!  That wasn’t going to stop me, though… I was going to read those books and I was going to enjoy them – whether Bubba liked it or not!

After reading every Where’s Waldo? book in our library to Bubba, I wish I could say that he was able to find Waldo without my help, but that would be a lie.  He struggled to find the distinctive bobble-hat-and-glasses wearing man on every single page – but here’s what surprised me… He still LOVED it!  He was so excited to have a purpose for reading along with me, that his eyes were glued to every page!

And that got me thinking… Why hadn’t I given him a reason to follow along before?!  When an adult reads a text, he does so for a reason – He has a purpose.  It could be for work or for pleasure, but there’s always a reason.  The same is true for high school students and even elementary age kids.  Everyone has a reason for reading the books they read, but Bubba never really did – until now.

Now when I read to Bubba, I stop and ask him to point things out in the pictures.  I ask him to find certain letters.  I ask him to count the objects in the pictures.  I ask him to tell me what color a butterfly is, and I ask him if the bear is on the right or left side of the page.  Does he get the answers right all the time? No… but he’s having TONS of fun trying – and that’s exactly what I love to see!

Who would have ever thought that those Where’s Waldo? books from my childhood could make me a better parent?



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Our Friends at PBS

Lately it’s been taking longer to get through some of the books we’re reading because I’m stopping to have Bubba point to an object in the pictures or certain letter.  It’s amazing how much he’s picking up lately!  I wish I could take all the credit for his intelligence, but I know there are other factors at play… for example, his favorite TV show is Super Why! – which does an amazing job teaching letters and sounds to kids Mikey’s age.


It’s because of shows like Super Why! that my wife and I have been volunteering at our local PBS station (WQPT) for more than 10 years now.  We’ve done everything we can for WQPT; working phones and cameras during pledge drives, passing out balloons, putting on temporary tattoos, and running children’s games at special events, bidding on auction items and volunteering at their black-tie fundraiser, setting up, helping the admissions tent, serving beer, and providing security at their Brew Ha Ha fundraiser, selling pork chop sandwiches at our local PGA tournament, and the list goes on and on.


Over the years, we’ve gotten to know the staff at WQPT pretty well, and they’ve gotten to know us, too.  They always want to know what Bubba is up to, so when I told them that Bubba was going to dress up as Super Why! for Halloween, they sent him a Super Why! book, some Super Why! stickers, and some Super Why! temporary tattoos.  When we stop by the office to say, “Hi,” they always give Bubba a book to take home.  They even invite him to come to their Kids Club parties!


My wife and I are blessed to have people like our friends at WQPT in our lives, and we are so grateful they take such an interest in Bubba’s life.  Whatever success Bubba has in the future, there’s no way my wife and I can take all the credit… some of the credit will definitely have to go to our friends at PBS!

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What’s Your Suggestion?

A few months back, I used all the “Bonus Points” (from my Scholastic Reading Clubs account) and purchased the Junie B. Jones Complete Collection and the Magic Tree House library.  Obviously, I won’t be reading these to Bubba anytime soon, but I figured I would start stocking up his shelves with some classic series books for when he’s reading on his own.


Does anybody have suggestions for other series books I should get for him?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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