It has been about a month since I read Ms. Bixby's Last Day. Since then I have welcomed my second baby boy into our family. Before Baby #2 I was asked to take part in this blog tour, and I naively agreed. With two boys under two I am...tired. And the wonderful coordinator of this blog tour assured me that if I felt like this was too much once the day arrived, that I could opt out. No pressure. And opting out is tempting the night before the post goes up, when drowsiness is setting in. But then I heard myself reminding my toddler of some family truths. We don't bite. We don't kick. We don't grab the baby. And this one trickled in: We don't back out of our commitments. I don't want to let down Walden Pond Press. I want to honor a commitment to John David Anderson's kick off to his latest work. But mostly, I truly love this book, and I want to show up for that.
When I was getting the details for this post it was suggested that I write about my own Ms. Bixby, the teacher that inspired me, touched me, made me explore the world and myself, etc., etc., etc. It got me thinking about my teachers. And you know what, my Ms. Bixby came to me later in life as a colleague. My Ms. Bixby is my former teammate/teaching partner/friend, Mrs. Hartley.
Mrs. Hartley taught me to slow down. To breathe deeply. To appreciate nature and poetry and music. She let me be myself, let loose, joke, laugh, question, push boundaries and sometimes buttons. She worked so, so hard on little things, things that no one would notice she worked so hard on. But she did it anyway, because it's the little things that matter.
And while I thought about my own Ms. Bixby, I also thought about kids. There cannot be a Ms. Bixby that makes an impact without students that are open to what a teacher has to offer. So, while this story is a tribute to the gift of an amazing teacher, it is also a tribute to the kinds of kids that have open eyes. I feel so lucky to have cultivated relationships with some amazing students over the years. It's the right kind of students that energize a teacher, keep her seeking out new books to share, driving her to continue thinking up new projects and writing assignments, and that make her lose sleep over which read aloud to share next because that time is so precious and there are only so many books we can get through in a year.
So that's what this book is to me. It's a tribute to wonderful teachers. It's a tribute to students that have open eyes and large hearts. It's also a tribute to friendship.
I loved this story, and I hope you do too!
Want to own copy? Enter at the bottom of this post. Contest closes July 5th.
Want to see what all the hype is about? Read this 48 page excerpt!
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