Ms. Bixby’s Last Day — Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“I can’t imagine outlining a book and then just sitting down and writing it. I think it would lose its emotional being — the effervescence, the sparkle.”
~ Patricia Cornwall ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

It’s a good idea to get some writing advice from great writers. HERE are 10 Tips on Writing from Joyce Carol Oates.

Finished with one book and on to the next, but how do you get to know that new cast of characters? M. L. Davis at Uninspired Writers has a terrific post HERE to help you with that.

I find writers are sharing people, and K. M. Weiland is no exception. HERE she posts The Professional Writing Resources I Use for All Parts of the Writing and Publishing Process. It’s a lot of good stuff.

I hope all of you are staying well and taking good care of yourselves. The news these days is frightening. I have tickets for live theatre twice in the next two weeks, and I have to admit, I’ve had to convince myself to go, even though I love live theatre more than almost anything. My daughter, granddaughter, and I went to see Emma at the movie theatre on Friday (I LOVED it and recommend it), and we took disinfectant wipes and wiped down the seats before we settled in. We live in interesting times. Stay well.

Ms. BixbyI continue to knock an occasional book off my staggeringly long TBR list when I can. I ran across a nice, clean copy of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson at the library book sale and picked it up. I remember reading about it when it first came out and it has **** next to the title on my TBR list, so I knew I had to get it. I’m so glad I did. I loved every word. And, as I often say, it’s never too late to review a good book.

Topher, Steve, and Brand are in sixth grade and we meet them as they are heartlessly teasing Rebecca Roudabush as only boys that age can do. But Rebecca takes after them and, as they try to make their escape, they run into Ms. Bixby, their teacher. She is, as they go on to explain, one of the good ones. That is high compliment for boys that age to state about a teacher. Ms. Bixby wears bright colors and dyes a streak in her hair hot pink. She sees good things in students other teachers might not see. She listens carefully to what students are really saying to her. She appreciates and affirms the best parts of her students. And each of the boys has issues to deal with that are hard, some much harder than others. Then one day, Ms. Bixby announces that she is sick, very sick, and will be leaving soon for treatment and will miss the end of the school year. But she promises they will have a party on her last day. But not all promises can be kept. Ms. Bixby can’t be there for her last week. But Topher, Steve, and Brand decide it’s important to have that last day party, and they have a plan to make it perfect.

John David Anderson
John David Anderson

The boys tell this story with chapters in the voices of one or the other of them throughout, each revealing their own story along the way. It’s a daunting task for an author to write in three distinct voices, but Anderson pulls it off without a hitch. While this story could have been an abjectly sad book, it is not. It is filled with humor, and I’m talking about laugh-out-loud-until-tears-stream-down-your-face funny. Seriously. I did that. More than once. I wondered how anyone could make an audiobook of this without cracking up. But all of this carries readers through some pretty serious business — not just Ms. Bixby’s devastating illness, but the reality of these boys’ lives. This is a terrific book, and I can’t believe I took so long to get to it. If you haven’t read it yet, get to it! If you have, I hope this brought back good memories.

I have a gently-used copy of this book for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.


27 thoughts on “Ms. Bixby’s Last Day — Review & Giveaway”

  1. I need to read this book! I love humor and school stories. Thanks for telling us about this book and for your excellent review. I shared on Facebook, Pinterest, tumblr, and twitter.


  2. I have the top row of a bookshelf where I put my favorite books—ones I can’t part with. There are about 8 titles there including the story you reviewed today. Such a great job of story telling. Thanks for keeping this one lout there to entice new readers. No need for me to win another copy so someone else can enjoy the book.
    Great set of links today as I am revising two stories and the topics came at the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome that you and Greg loved this one so much. I’m going to let someone else win because I’ve got a really big stack of books to get through.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember reading this book and recommending it to students when it was first published. Have any of you read his other book POSTED? I like Anderson’s writing, but I was disappointed in the ending. Comments?


  4. Wow — I love every thing about this complex story with a great teacher to guiding her student’s the way and helping them face their demons. And, they return the favor in some way. You have me hooked by your review! I’d love to read this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love when a serious sounding book has a lot of humor. It makes the hard parts go down easier. I’m also intrigued by how the boys are described.
    Coincidentally, I’m seeing Emma tomorrow. I’m glad to hear you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely want to read this book!! Like others, there is something very special in finding humor in the midst of a serious issue.

    I’m going to see Emma with good friends this weekend. Thank you for the critique, and I will bring wipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read this one last year when it was up for the Nutmeg Award (book award for CT). I really enjoyed it and so did my students. I heard they are making a movie- so I am sure I will see that too. Glad you got this one checked off your list and that you enjoyed it as much as I did. 🙂 I will pass on the giveaway- since I have a copy already.

    Liked by 1 person

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