“I Remember Miss Perry” tells the story of a boy named Stevie who has just moved to a new town. He is anxious about making new friends in the school he will attend and especially about who he will sit with at lunch. When he asks to go to the nurse because he has a “stomachache,” his teacher Miss Perry tells him, “It is my fondest wish that you join me for lunch today.” She tells Stevie how she can relate to his feelings of anxiousness because she too got stomachaches when it was her first day as a teacher. Stevie feels a lot better when he finds out that teachers get stomachaches too. As the book progresses, the readers learn that Miss Perry has a new “fondest wish” each day. For example, when it was the principal Mrs. O’Brien’s birthday, it was Miss Perry’s fondest wish that they all buzz “Happy Birthday” to her in her office.
One day, Miss Perry’s class returns back from lunch to find each of their parents at their desks and Mrs. O’Brien in the room. Mrs. O’Brien tells the class that Miss Perry died in a car accident that morning. The students cannot go on being sad forever, so they each must find ways to be happy in the midst of the terrible accident. They learn to talk about all of the good times they had with Miss Perry and all of her fondest wishes.
It is very common for children to move frequently growing up due to varying circumstances and this situation is very difficult for many reasons, but children become especially anxious about the social aspects of entering a new school. Therefore, I think many children would be able to relate to Stevie’s feelings in the beginning of the story. At first when I read that Miss Perry died in a car accident, I was shocked that an author would write a children’s book about a teacher dying. However, Brisson was extremely successful in dealing with the concept and incorporating the varying ways that young children perceive death. I think this would be a great book for any child to read that is going through any period of mourning or suffering because the book illustrates how important it is to remember the good times and not focus on the bad. This is a valuable lesson to live your life by, and I think many children who are going through a similar situation would find comfort in reading this book. Moreover, the illustrations are quite colorful so if you were to just flip through the book, you would have no idea that it was about death. The brightness of the colors reinforces the fact that the good memories are what one needs to focus on.