Thursday, January 24, 2008
Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
Miller, Sarah. 2007. MISS SPITFIRE: REACHING HELEN KELLER. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1416925422 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
Annie Sullivan is a young woman on a mission. Her job? To teach a child--a six year old child--who is blind, deaf, and dumb. It won't be easy. There has only been one successful case to base their hopes and dreams on: that of Laura Bridgman. But Annie is strong-minded and determined. She'll need every ounce of stubbornness she has if she's going to master the willfulness of Helen. Used to getting her own way, Helen runs wild. And as Annie soon points out, the family expects better behavior from the dogs than they do from their young daughter. Helen has never been disciplined a day in her life--at least since an illness left her blind and deaf. This journey from despair to hope, from chaos to communication, is an important one. It is full of emotion--as day-by-day Annie struggles to teach and love a child who fails to comprehend the meaning of words altogether. Anger. Frustration. Rage. Joy. Happiness. Fear. Hope. Despair. It's all here. Annie and Helen. This is their story.
While the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan may be familiar—especially to those who have seen The Miracle Worker—Sarah Miller’s retelling is powerfully unique. It’s the way Miller tells the story that makes this one oh-so-magical.
Lead the children in learning the alphabet in American Sign Language, and trying some finger spelling.
Watch The Miracle Worker on DVD or video.
Other books about Helen Keller and/or Annie Sullivan:
Delano, Marfe Ferguson. HELEN’S EYES: A PHOTOBIOGRAPHY OF ANNIE SULLIVAN. ISBN 1426302096
Lawlor, Laurie. HELEN KELLER: REBELLIOUS SPIRIT. ISBN 0823415880
Sullivan, George. HELEN KELLER: HER LIFE IN PICTURES. ISBN 0439918154
By Becky Laney