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Thank you so much for all the many, many replies.  I feel like I'm  
certainly not the only one with this problem.  In summary here are  
some of the great answers I received:

Many people suggested giving students plastic bags of some kind at the  
beginning of the year--either large ziploc bags or the kind you can  
get from Upstart.  There were two school of thought on the bags--one,  
that the bags were for the library books and the other is that they  
would be for wet things in the backpack.  One idea I really liked was  
that if it was a bag for library books, there were small prizes for  
students who still had them at the end of the year!

Another idea was suggesting to parents that a backpack with an outside  
pocket for water bottles would be a good idea for the protection of  
all books, papers, etc. in the backpack.

Many suggested I "bag" the wet, moldy book and keep it for  
demonstration purposes for my book care talk in the Fall.  I'll add  
that to my crayoned book, my literally dog eared/chewed book, and my  
book with all the pictures cut out (???).

I realized from all your suggestions that this is an ongoing problem  
and that parent communication is a must.  Most parents at my school  
are happy to pay for replacement books so that hasn't been a concern  
for me.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to give me all your  
thoughts.  This listserv is so amazing!!

Janet Pedersen
Cold Spring School
Santa Barbara, CA 93108

At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that  
that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever,  
for the
better. ~~Barack Obama (from a speech to the American Library  
Association June 25, 2005)

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