I was lucky
enough to receive an advanced reader copy, often referred to as an ARC, from Deborah Kovacs,
@deborahkovacs, & Walden Pond Press, @WaldenPondPress. It didn’t arrive at the best of times however
. . . it was that time of finishing up - finishing
up the school year, finishing up teaching a writing class at the local
university, finishing up my C.A.S.in Literacy and finally, finishing up
requirements for a curriculum coordinator’s license. But even with all this
going on, Ms. Bixby’s Last Day was a
book I couldn’t put down.
disappoint in his development of each and every character in this book. Ms.
Bixby is an elementary school teacher, but not just any elementary school
teacher. She belongs in that very small group of people who were just born to
teach - those teachers that are the change-makers in children’s lives.
I was gripped with each of the three boys’ stories. Topher,
Brand and Steve are best friends but each come from different homes and
experiences. Although each feels he
is the only one with the special relationship with Ms. Bixby, as we read, we
discover that all three are correct.
If you are lucky,
you have had a teacher or two like Ms. Bixby in your life. She was that teacher
that never had to raise her voice, ever; the one that made each and every
student in her class feel like they were special; the one that made learning so
interesting and fun. My first such
experience was in third grade. I knew a bit about Mrs. Taylor because my
sister, Ann, had Mrs. Taylor when she was in third grade. When my sister was in
Mrs. Taylor’s class she learned to knit from her in an after school-knitting
club. This was 1962 and just not done! When I had Mrs. Taylor some high school
students brought in the frogs they had dissected and let us look at them and
poke around at them . . .unbelievable .
. . I remember when our reading group had a real treasure hunt around the
classroom after reading a story about the topic. Mrs. Taylor was the first
teacher I had ever met that was so creative, so fun yet so challenging, all at
the same time. We all hope to be that type of teacher – like Mrs. Taylor, like
Perhaps that is
why three of her students, Topher, Steve and Brand, decide to ditch school for
the first time in their lives and risk the wrath of their parents, in order to
visit their teacher in the hospital. The trip isn’t as easy as anticipated, as
they make some stops and purchases they need in order to give Ms. Bixby a
perfect day. With the book told from the
point of views of each of the boys, we learn more about each of them. We learn
about their lives and why they need Ms. Bixby in them.
This is a book
that you need to read and then you need to put into the hands of readers. It is
powerful, sincere, funny and tender. Anderson’s storytelling pulls you into the
lives of these characters and makes you root for them. There are moments of sadness,
fear and anger too – genuine emotions that our kids might not always share. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day would be a great
read aloud and one that you must have on your classroom and library shelves.
The first 45
pages of the book are available to read here and a youtube video by Walden Press here. There are two ways to win an autographed copy of this book. Please
leave a comment and/or join my blog. Don’t miss out on this one!