Ms. Bixby’s Last Day (hard cover)
by John David Anderson
AR Level 5.2, 11 points
Ms. Bixby is the teacher we all want to be. She is memorable, she realizes potential in all of her students (some for special reasons), and she is engaging. When she is diagnosed with cancer and has to leave before her going away party, three of her students skip school and set out to give her a day to remember. This story is told from the points of view of Brand (a boy whose mom passed away and father is a depressed paraplegic), Topher (with a vivid imagination, a great artist, and busy parents), and Steve (a Japanese American boy who is sometimes bullied, mainly by his parents). Though they face many challenges, they are able to give their favorite teacher a send-off.
What I liked about this book was that she was so meaningful to them. Even students she didn’t directly connect with were able to enjoy what she did to make their classroom engaging, whether it was reading The Hobbit, dying her hair pink, or teaching them “Bixbyisms” and asking them the moral of the story. I hope my students can take a fraction of that away from their time with me.
What I didn’t like was that it kind of dragged in the middle. I don’t know if I was expecting more, but I was expecting more of the power of Ms. Bixby throughout the book. It seemed like there was a portion of the book that I wasn’t too entertained by.
Book 49 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)