I like to suggest books to students. It is one of the very best and most important parts of my job. But today I am suggesting a book to teachers. No, I am assigning this book to teachers. Required Reading. And if some students want to read it too, I don't blame them. Because this book was incredible.
Ms. Bixby's Last Day is the story of three 6th grade boys and their relationships they have formed with their teacher. Each boy is entirely unique and has different needs. But Ms. Bixby manages to form a bond with all of them. So when they receive the devastating news that she has to undergo treatment for cancer, and didn't even get to celebrate her "last day of school", they know they have to do something. Topher, Brand, and Steve are on a mission to recreate the perfect "last day" for Ms. Bixby. This pefect day requires a very expensive cheesecake, a bottle of wine, and finishing reading the last chapters of The Hobbit. Of course, it doesn't go as smoothly as they hoped. Sneaking out of school, traveling across the city and acquiring everything they need without getting caught is an impossible task. And like a great adventure movie this book has many twists and turns.
My favorite thing about this book is how John David Anderson slowly reveals why Ms. Bixby was so special to each boy. You have to see it through to the end, because what she does for Brand was so simple, yet completely and utterly remarkable. This book reminds us that as teachers it only takes a very small action to make a huge and lasting impact on our students.
Teachers, get your kleenex ready, and read this book. (And for what it's worth, kids, you'll like it too).