Sunday, October 16, 2016

Why I Stopped Reading Ms. Bixby...For Now

Ms. Bixby's Last Day has been a book of false starts for me.  

According to Goodreads, I started this book on September 3rd, and it is now October 16th.  I would read a few chapters, and then another book would find its way on a higher rung of the To-Be-Read ladder, leaving Ms. Bixby back on the nightstand.

I had read the reviews from other teachers, and I knew this was my kind of book - heart fiction, the books I devour.  I even learned the author was from my home state of Indiana.

But the book still sat on the nightstand...until last night.

I decided to give it another try, and this time, I could not put it down.

I read to page 232.  

And I stopped.  

And I cried.

"We all have moments when we think nobody really sees us.  When we feel like we have to act out or be somebody else just to get noticed.  But somebody notices, Topher.  Somebody sees.  Somebody out there thinks you are the greatest thing in the whole world.  Don't ever think you're not good enough."

I fear how this book is going to end.  And a part of me doesn't want it to end.  But I stopped because I want to be Ms. Bixby.  I want to be one of the good ones.

I thought about those students who sit in my classroom day after day and feel unnoticed or act out in order to "be seen."  I want to see them, really see them, maybe for the very first time.  In my mind I went through the roster of former students, and I saw Steve and Topher and Brand looking back at me.  I want to think I made a difference, but I aways question, "Was it enough?"

My heart has been altered by reading this book, which is one of the reasons why I read.  I have always believed in the power of relationships.  When I read a book about a teacher like Ms. Bixby, it reminds me of why I became a teacher in the first place... 

and all that I aspire to be.

Thank you John David Anderson.  


  1. Oh my....Now I HAVE to read this book.

    Sounds to me like you have a novel hidden inside you right now. I think you should go write it! 🤓

  2. This book hasn't stayed on the shelf long enough for me to read it yet. I saw John David Anderson at the MS Book Festival. He read the part about picking your friend's nose. I read this aloud to my class when I book-talked the book. They have loved it. But I can totally see your point. I don't think they read for the same reasons we do. I don't think my students fully see the deeper meaning.

  3. It's an incredible book! I hope I was one of the good ones. I'm so glad it was selected for our Mock Newbery list by KCLS. Can't wait to get our copies and read it again. I had to buy my own copy because I know I want to mark it up on my next read through.

  4. I loved this, but mainly for the violence to cheesecake and the boys attempt to get the bottle of wine. That's what my students will enjoy. I cried, too, even though I don't really believe that I have any impact on my students whatsoever. In ten years, they won't even remember my name, no matter how hard I try!