Monday, February 3, 2014

For the Love of Books & Bathtubs (February Theme)

Dear Leeann Childers,

I could thank you for so many things: the work you do with students, your cheery, inspiring disposition, your support and enthusiasm for books and for local authors. And I am grateful for all of those things, and more! But today I want to thank you for your bathtub -- the one you keep in the library at Goldsmith-Schiffman Elementary School.

This is a super-cool, inspired, creative thing all on its own. But for me, it's more than that. When I saw your bathtub filled with puffy pillows, it was a trip back to Third Grade.

See, my teacher, Mrs. Fattig, at Padgett Elementary in Lakeland, Florida, had a bathtub in her classroom. (Her husband was a plumber.) For a book-loving gal it was a dream. It was was also a comfort: I had just been double-promoted from a very unhappy few weeks in 2nd Grade to a trial in 3rd Grade. I was lonely and scared. And there was Mrs. Fattig's bathtub.

I spent as much time in that bathtub as possible. Once, when we had to learn the fifty states, I sat in the bathtub to recite them. I memorized them geographically, starting with Florida, and worked my way across the nation.

Unfortunately, I missed a few states. (Note to students: this in NOT the best way to learn states, apparently. Everyone else in my class learned them alphabetically and didn't miss Hawaii and Alaska the way I did. I blame my left-handed/right-brained-ness.) But thanks to Mrs. Fattig, I soon felt at home in her classroom, and the trial became a permanent arrangement. All because of a teacher and her reading bathtub.

And you, Leeann Childers, give that experience to students every day. Thank you for inviting me to your school -- and into your bathtub. :)

Irene Latham

p.s. if any readers know what happened to Mrs. Fattig, or where she is now, I would love to reconnect with her!


  1. What a great memory and a wonderful way to encourage reading. Wish I had a reading tub...

  2. Replies
    1. I seriously couldn't get over it when I was 8: pillows in the tub! It was awesome. And then to find it again as a visiting author... amazing!

  3. It makes me quite happy to know that there are not one but two bathtubs in classrooms!

    1. Megan, I suspect there are even more.... thank you for visiting!

  4. Yes, Darlene, that reading tub was SO SPECIAL! I need one NOW. :)

  5. A reading tub!? How cool is that?!

  6. Love your memories of fostering a love of learning while lounging in a tub. Special teachers are worth remembering!