Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Miss Spitfire, Reaching Helen Keller

Miss Spitfire, Reaching Helen Keller

Miss Spitfire

In 1887, Annie Sullivan leaves Boston by train to travel to Alabama. Annie is a teacher on her way to her first teaching assignment, but it isn’t just any student Annie will be teaching. The child Annie has been hired to teach is both deaf and blind and no one knows whether the little girl named Helen will ever be able to learn. Annie discovers her new student to be stubborn, uncooperative and violent – she even knocks Annie’s teeth out! But really, who can blame her? How frustrating would it be to be stuck in a silent and dark world? Helen doesn’t know how to ask for things or tell someone if she doesn’t feel good. Lucky for Helen, Annie isn’t any pushover – that’s how she got the knickname “Miss Spitfire.” Annie doesn’t give up. Helen doesn’t give up. A miracle happens.

Based on the true life of the very real Helen Keller. Annie Sullivan did what most people thought would be impossible, she taught Helen to read and write and speak. Helen Keller graduated from college and became a lecturer and champion for the causes of blind and deaf people everwhere. If you like this story, told from Annie’s perspective, you might also like reading the real story from Helen’s point of view. Helen wrote an autobiography about herself, The Story of My Life: Helen Keller. Annie and Helen, two people who never gave up and accomplished the impossible. Author: Sarah MillerThe Handmade Alphabet

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Night of the Howling Dogs

Night of the Howling Dogs

It is with a lot of sad feelings that we read about the flooding in Indiana and the tornado in Iowa that killed four boy scouts. As the story of those events continues to unfold, a single message is very clear: knowing what to do saves lives. The story of the boy scouts in particular points out the fact that kids like you can, and do, make a difference in an emergency. It’s good to know about the different kinds of disasters so you can be prepared to take care of yourself, and maybe some of the people around you:Safety Book

Thinking about these disasters can be scary. Sometimes, it helps to read about events that are scary in a fiction book. Reading about the event helps us live the experience…without actually having to live it. We can envision ourselvs in the situation and ask good questions while we have time to get good answers. Where should I go at home if a tornado is coming?

Night of the Howling DogsThere is a fiction book some of you might be interested in called Night of the Howling Dogs. It is the story of a boy scout troup that is camping in Hawaii on Kilauea (a volcano) when an earthquake strikes and their campsite is overrun by a tsunami. It sounds like an, “oh, that would never happen” kind of story…but it is based on the true experience of a boy scout troup in 1975. One of the boy scouts that was actually there, is the cousin of the author. Like the boy scouts in Iowa, the scouts in this story use their knowledge of first aid & search & rescue, as well as courage and strength, to help each other survive. Author: Graham Salisbury

Two thumbs up to all boy scouts and the skills they learn, and our sympathies for the losses they have suffered this week.

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Counting on Grace

Counting on Grace

Counting on GraceIt’s 1910, and like the girl pictured below, 12 year-old Grace and her best friend Arthur must quit school to work in the town mill. The work is hard and the two friends can hardly stand the hot, noisy factory. Grace and Arthur write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board to tell them about kids working at the mill. Mr. Lewis Hine comes undercover to photograph the kids and gather evidence. Kids working in a factory at 12? You can believe it, thanks to Lewis Hine, who was a real person. His pictures survive at the National Archives. Author: Elizabeth Winthrop

Lewis Hine Pictures from the National Archives:

If you liked reading about Grace, try reading about these girls who also challenged what it meant to be a girl in their time:
Miss Spitfire Chains Red Moon at Sharpsburg Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
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