Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Home    Challenges    Reviews    Features    Contests    Review Policy    Contact

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blog Tour: Ms. Bixby's Last Day

John David Anderson is quickly becoming one of my favorite MG authors. From fantasy to realistic fiction, Anderson's books are funny, fast-paced, and memorable.

Anderson's newest book, which is out now, is another winner. This novel follows three students as they skip school to visit their favorite teacher, who they've recently learned has cancer and is being transferred from their local hospital. Now, you might assume that this book would be terribly sad and a hard handsell, but you'd be wrong. Yes, there are emotional moments, but there's also plenty of laughter.

I love that this book centers around the three students' love for their teacher, who genuinely cares about her students and truly believes that they deserve great things. I had some really great teachers throughout elementary, middle, and high school... and some really terrible teachers. But those great teachers - the Ms. Bixby's of the world - are the ones that stick with you.

When I was in middle school, I was very awkward. I'm still awkward, but I'm totally cool with it now. Back then I hadn't accepted my awkward. I think I've blocked out most of middle school for my own mental health... I spent a lot of time writing really moody poetry, feeling betrayed by my friends, and hiding out in the school library. In seventh grade I mostly checked out books and used the internet (we didn't have it at home!) - so the media specialist, Mrs. Connell, knew me well.

My eighth grade year I was able to earn credit as the student aide in the library. I spent one class period a day shelving books, watering plants, running errands, and talking books with Ms. Connell. I remember that many of the other students thought she was mean - after all, she worked in the library and most kids were sent there to work quietly, which they did not do. She didn't have a lot of patience for rule breakers. But I was a quiet kid and I loved books, so we got along swimmingly.

In fact, it was Ms. Connell that introduced me to David Eddings, Cornelia Funke, and Robin McKinley. I was always a reader, but Mrs. Connell who showed me the magic of epic fantasy - which remained my obsession through all of high school. 

On the last day of the school year, Ms. Connell gave me two gifts. One was my very own hardcover copy of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, which I still have and love. The second was a reading journal, in which there was room to record books as I finished them. There was space for title, author, number of pages, why I read it, favorite characters, other books by the author, and more. When I filled this journal, I photocopied the final, uncompleted page to keep recording. And, eventually, I stopped keeping a paper record of the books I'd read, instead starting The Hiding Spot.

The Hiding Spot exists today in large part because of Ms. Connell. And a big reason I'm a bookseller is because of The Hiding Spot. I bet she had no idea what the gift of a book and journal to an awkward eighth grader would change that kid's entire life.

You can read an excerpt of Ms. Bixby's Last Day here!


About the Book
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The good ones. The not-so-good ones. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. But Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like the indignity of school is worthwhile. Who makes the idea of growing up less terrifying. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.

Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a plan. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand just what Ms. Bixby means to Topher, Brand, and Steve—and what they are willing to go to such great lengths to tell her.

John David Anderson, the acclaimed author of Sidekicked, returns with a story of three kids, a very special teacher, and one day that none of them will ever forget.




Post a Comment

Make sure you whisper, I'm hiding!