Gary Schimdt’s review of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day prompted our group to read this book.
“In this story, the three boys resolve to cut classes and give their hospitalized teacher the perfect last day: cheesecake, a glass of wine, a bag of McDonald’s french fries and, for them, a reading of the last chapter of “The Hobbit.” The journey is a long and fraught one, heightened by fear of their truancy being discovered, failure (can anyone carry a cheesecake for long without it being destroyed?), physical attacks and self-doubt.
But it is also a powerful journey of revelation, as each boy is able to offer up, like a blessing, the ways in which Ms. Bixby has brought hope and wholeness into the dark. So when they finally reach the hospital and beg Ms. Bixby to come with them one last time to eat, drink and read Tolkien aloud, we see three students who have, indeed, been taught something.”
And we’re so very glad we did. Not only because it was a great read but also because it prompted up to have another outstanding book club adventure.
A bus ride, a photo quest (that included finding people with pink hair), a picnic in the park, and of course raspberry cheesecake.
After taking the bus to downtown Holland, we broke off into teams and were given the instructions to take photos of things/people that related to each of the main characters (personalities, interests, experiences).
It was so fun to see what photos each group took…
After our photo quest, we enjoyed a picnic in the park, a picnic that Ms. Bixby would have loved. The biscotti (“eating a body”!) were a great touch!
We talked about parts of the book that made us laugh, about what each of the boys learned from Ms. Bixby and about what we thought some of her Bixbyisms meant. All in all, another epic memory!
Ms. Bixby: “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 probably thinks you’re the greatest thing in the whole world. Don’t ever think you’re not good enough.”
Ms. Bixby: “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
How I love journeying through pages of books and learning about life with these boys and their moms!
AND…it was lovely to have John David Anderson, the book’s author, respond to our Tweet!