I followed the rules a lot in school, so I get it when Brand, Steve and Topher are sweating it out faking voices on the phone to skip a day of school. But I like to think I would have done it too for my favorite teachers: Miss Sellers, Mr. Yoder, Mrs. Hayworth & Mrs. Robbins.
The boys are on a mission for their favorite, Ms. Bixby, who has had to cut the school year short because of an illness. The class knows she is going to have to leave, but it turns out she has to leave so fast, no one gets a chance to say a proper goodbye, and that doesn’t sit well with the boys.
They devise a plan to:
- Jailbreak themselves from school
- Make their way across town to where they think they can find Ms. Bixby
- Collect gifts along the way they have determined will have meaning for Ms. Bixby…because these things have meaning for THEM.
What they don’t count on…is having to jailbreak Ms. Bixby too! Sometimes, breaking the rules is the only way to set things right again when life isn’t working out the way you want it to, especially when you do it for a friend, even when that friend is a teacher.
A great book about the kind of teacher we all want to get – I hope you all get your own Ms. Bixby this year.
Favorite Quote: Topher: “If I’m going, I’m taking the rest of you with me.” I would have said that about my friends in Middle School too…I hope you make the kind of friends this year that will make you want to say it too.
Some Favorite Teacher Thoughts from John David Anderson:
indyPL Kids: I think there were two things I liked about my favorite teachers: they listened, no matter who was talking, they told the truth, even when it was hard, and they had a sense of humor. What was your favorite thing(s) about your favorite teacher(s)? 
John David Anderson: Sense of humor was a must, certainly! I also remember the teachers who had a passion for their subject. A science teacher who could go on and on about carbon atoms with religious fervor. A literature professor who nearly cried when he talked about his favorite books. I think energy and enthusiasm are contagious. I’ve had teachers who have gotten me interested in everything from probability to the 2nd Punic War. I also like teachers who give out candy.
indyPL Kids: Does Miss Bixby have some of these traits that you remember?
John David Anderson: I think Ms. Bixby certainly has passion and compassion in equal measure. But I think it’s the truth-telling part you mentioned that makes her stand out in my mind. She’ll hit you with the hard reality, but then she’ll talk you through it and hug you afterward. Plus she can juggle.
indyPL Kids: My favorite book teachers are Miss Frizzle, Miss Nelson/Viola Swamp, Mr. Ratburn, Mrs. Twinkle, Mr. Slinger, Mr. Scary and Mrs. Olinski. And now Ms. Bixby! Do you have any favorite teachers from books?
John David Anderson: Mrs. Olinksi, yes! Also Mrs. Edmunds from Bridge to Terabithia. Severus Snape–you didn’t say they had to be good teachers, just favorites. And Yoda.
Favorite Teachers in Chapter Books:
||Mrs. Edmunds in Bridge to Terabithia  – The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm.
||Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince  – In the series, Professor Snape usually teaches Potions at Hogwarts school. In the sixth book, he teaches Defence Against the Dark Arts, a position he is known to have wanted for a lot of the series. Professor Snape appears throughout, but the sixth and seventh books really reveal his true nature.
||Miss Chew in The Art of Miss Chew  – Describes how a teacher named Miss Chew encouraged individuality, and accepted learning differences, and helped a young student with academic difficulties get extra time to take tests and permission to be in advanced art classes. Inspired by the author’s memories of her art teacher.
||Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes  – Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athapascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.
||Miss Bidson in The Secret School  – In 1925, fourteen-year-old Ida Bidson secretly takes over as the teacher when the one-room schoolhouse in her remote Colorado area closes unexpectedly.
||Mrs. Jewls in Sideways Stories from Wayside School  – Wayside School is thirty stories high, one classroom on top of another. Maybe that’s why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside – especially on the thirteenth floor.
||All the Kids in Flying Solo  – When the substitute for a sixth-grade class never shows up, the students set out to prove that they can run the class by themselves.
||Mr. Browne in Wonder  – Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
||Miss Marks in Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind  – When quiet sixth-grader Minnie gets a new language arts teacher who makes her think and ask hard questions, she is inspired to stand up for what she believes in.
||Mr. Terupt in Because of Mr. Terupt  – Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by “rookie teacher” Mr. Terupt.
||Miss Stretchberry in Love that Dog  – A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.
||Miss Shirley in Anne of Avonlea  – In this sequel to Anne of Green Gables, teenaged Anne Shirley becomes a schoolteacher in a small village on Prince Edward Island.
||Mrs. Olinski in The View from Saturday  – Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
||Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars  – During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
||Miss Granger in Frindle  – When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher’s love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.
||Seor David in Armando and the Blue Tarp School  – Armando and his father are trash-pickers in Tijuana, Mexico, but when Señor David brings his “school”–a blue tarp set down near the garbage dump–to their neighborhood, Armando’s father decides that he must attend classes and learn. Based on a true story.
Favorite Teachers in Picture Books:
||Mrs. Brown in The Art Lesson  – Tommy knows he wants to be an artist when he grows up. He can’t wait to get to school and have real art lessons. When Tommy gets to school and finds out that the art lessons are full of “rules”, he is surprised and dismayed. How the wise art teacher finds a way to give Tommy the freedom to create and stay within the “rules” makes a wonderfully perceptive picture book about growing up and keeping one’s individuality.
||Mr. Ratburn in Arthur’s Teacher Trouble  – On the first day of school Arthur discovers he’s got the toughest teacher in the third grade! The pressure is on to study hard for the all-school Spellathon. Can Arthur beat last year’s champion speller? Or will he let Mr. Ratburn d-o-w-n.
||Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle in Chrysanthemum  – Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect–until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?
||The Art Teacher in The Dot  – Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher’s encouragement leads her to change her mind.
||Miss Anderson in The Handkerchief Quilt  – When a disastrous flood damages Parkland School, forcing it to close for lengthy repairs, Miss Anderson, an elementary teacher, devises a way to raise money to help buy replacement books.
||Mr. Slinger in Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse  – Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, but when he asks her to wait a while before showing her new purse, she does something for which she is very sorry later.
||Miss Fox in Miss Fox’s Class Shapes Up  – When Miss Fox realizes that her students do not have healthy habits, she teaches them that healthful living is fun and rewarding, which they find to be true on Field Day. More  Miss Fox Books
||Miss Malarkey in Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind  – Miss Malarkey vows to find each of her students a book to love by the end of the school year, but one video-game loving boy proves to be a challenge. More  Miss Malarkey Books
||Miss Mingo in Miss Mingo and the First Day of School  – Miss Mingo helps all of the animal students in her class overcome their shyness on the first day of school by encouraging them to share something special about themselves. Includes facts about animals. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2011-2012, K-3 Nominee. More  Miss Mingo Books
||Miss Nelson in Miss Nelson is Missing  – The kids in Room 207 take advantage of their teacher’s good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a vile substitute. More  Miss Nelson Books
||Miss Cribbage in My Kindergarten  – Through a month-by-month review of a year in kindergarten, Emily shares the stories of the many happy experiences she has at her school with her new classmates, including first day introductions, a review of the changing seasons, learning how to read a map, and taking a special field trip to the local library.
||The Teacher in My Teacher  – A student wonders why her teacher has chosen to teach in her school for so long, and highlights all the special things her teacher does for her class.
||Mr. Kirby in My Teacher Is a Monster  – Bobby thinks his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is horrible, but when he sees her outside of school and they spend a day in the park together, he discovers she might not be so bad after all.
||Mrs. Hoggenmuller in Olivia and the Best Teacher Ever  – Mrs. Hoggenmuller is being considered for teacher of the year, and Olivia goes all out to see that the class performs its best. Will her favorite teacher get the award?
||The Teacher in You Are My Wonders  – Illustrations and rhyming text combine in a celebration of the relationship between teacher and student.
||Mr. Creacher in Substitute Creature  – Mr. Creacher, a multi-tentacled substitute teacher, warns his prankish students not to misbehave, recounting rhyming cautionary tales of the weird, spooky, and unexpected.
||Amelia Bedelia in Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia  – The very literal-minded Amelia Bedelia is up to her ears in trouble when she becomes a substitute teacher for a day, and her confused antics include handing out lightbulbs to the children when she is told to “plant bulbs.”
||Mr. Falker in Thank you, Mr. Falker  – At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem.
||Ms. Raymond in Dotty  – Ida’s imaginary friend, Dotty, is tied to her with a blue string and when Ida’s classmates tease her aboutDotty, Ida is surprised to discover that her teacher carries a red string with her wherever she goes.
||Mrs. Jenkins in Yoko  – When Yoko brings sushi to school for lunch, her classmates make fun of what she eats–until one of them tries it for himself.
||Miss Brooks in Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don’t)  – A first-grade girl who does not like to read stubbornly resists her school librarian’s efforts to convince her to love books until she finds one that might change her mind.