All this week, we’re featuring Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson as part of the official blog tour — and don’t miss your chance to win a copy HERE — and today, we have a fun twist on our traditional flash question interview. All of today’s questions are teacher/school-themed! Thanks for stopping by, Dave!
Favorite subject in school?
I’m supposed to say English, right? But honestly as a teenager it was science, particularly biology. If I hadn’t loved reading so much I might have been a mad scientist instead. I would have liked to have engineered my own minions.
The teacher who made you love learning?
Several, but we will go with Mr. Russel, my advanced biology teacher. More than any other he showed me that passion for your subject can be contagious. He made watching protozoa interesting–and that’s quite a feat.
Best book a teacher gave you?
As a kid, probably The Book of Three, which started an appreciation for dungeony/dragony things. As a teen, Catch 22, which fueled a personal predilection for being a royal smarty pants.
Most memorable homework assignment?
We had to create the worst new invention in the world. I made a zit-zapper, which was an old dust buster mini-vac that supposedly sucked the pimples right off of your face. I won first prize.
Best field trip?
Indianapolis has the best Children’s Museum. And it used to be free, so it was an ideal place to ferry a herd of antsy kids at the end of the year. The place is enormous, though, with tons of places to hide, making it a terrible place to ferry a herd of antsy kids. I remember getting in trouble the time our class visited, though I don’t remember what for. Probably just acting like a doofus. Or filling my pockets with sand.
The teacher you’d most like to apologize to as an adult?
All of my early elementary teachers–pretty much kindergarten through third. I was, I’m told, a holy terror (coloring on walls, pulling on pigtails, you know the routine). Thank the gods of non-rosy cheeks that they’d stopped paddling as punishment by that point.
Favorite recess activity?
Tag. I wasn’t very good. But there was the one girl I liked to chase around the playground. Too bad she was so much faster than me.
Describe the perfect school lunch.
Anyone who has read my books knows that I still have nightmares about school lunch. My mother often packed my lunch (does anyone remember “ham and cheese loaf”? Can’t believe I ate that stuff). I was fond of the rectangle pizza with the square pepperoni cubes. I’m a fan of right angles, I guess.
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The good ones. The not-so-good ones. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. But Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like the indignity of school is worthwhile. Who makes the idea of growing up less terrifying. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.
Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a plan. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand just what Ms. Bixby means to Topher, Brand, and Steve—and what they are willing to go to such great lengths to tell her.
John David Anderson, the acclaimed author of Sidekicked, returns with a story of three kids, a very special teacher, and one day that none of them will ever forget.