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download Textbooks Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen KellerAuthor Sarah Miller –

Annie Sullivan Was Little Than A Half Blind Orphan With A Fiery Tongue When She Arrived At Ivy Green InDesperate For Work, She D Taken On A Seemingly Impossible Job Teaching A Child Who Was Deaf, Blind, And As Ferocious As Any Wild Animal But Helen Keller Needed Than A Teacher She Needed Someone Daring Enough To Work A Miracle And If Anyone Was A Match For Helen, It Was The Girl They Used To Call Miss Spitfire For Annie, Reaching Helen S Mind Meant Losing Teeth As Raging Fists Flew It Meant Standing Up When Everyone Else Had Given Up It Meant Shedding Tears At The Frustrations And At The Triumphs By Telling This Inspiring Story From Annie Sullivan S Point Of View, Sarah Miller S Debut Novel Brings An Amazing Figure To Sharp New Life Annie S Past, Her Brazen Determination, And Her Connection To The Girl Who Would Call Her Teacher Have Never Been Clearer

10 thoughts on “Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller

  1. says:

    Well Helen Keller s inspiring life story has always fascinated me and which is also why I have seen most of the movie adaptations of William Gibson s famous play The Miracle Worker than once And indeed, Sarah Miller s Miss Spitfire basically tells the same story as portrayed in the former, as in William Gibson s play how Annie Sullivan is able to open Helen Keller s sightless and soundless world to language, to communication and personal interaction , but it is a biographical novel told from Annie Sullivan s perspective, and in her voice And for a mostly non fiction, biographical account, Miss Spitfire is really rather majorly remarkable insofar that the presented narrative reads and flows very much like a novel Sarah Miller s writing style is outstanding, amazing, superbly capturing what I would consider Annie Sullivan s voice, her ideas, her feelings and emotions which is to say that the first person narrative feels like it is Annie relating her story and not the author writing as Annie However, Sarah Miller has not only managed to capture her narrator s voice, Annie Sullivan s voice She has also managed to deliver an authentic, realistic and heartbreaking portrayal of seven year old Helen Keller, of her frustration, anger and isolation and how her parents overly tolerant, indulgent but ultimately neglectful and damaging behaviour towards their stricken daughter actually made this frustration much worse, how her parents actions and indeed often the lack thereof turned an intelligent little girl, frustrated at not being able to communicate, at being isolated by her blindness and deafness, into a wild, seemingly crazed monster of a child.Now truth be told, Annie Sullivan is able to reach through to Helen Keller because she is equally stubbornly strong willed and thus with every fibre of herself determined to fight for her pupil even against Helen s family, even when Helen physically and violently lashes out at her For in many ways, Annie understands the girl s anger and frustration, as they mirror her own personality, her own background and history, since Miss Spitfire was Annie s nickname at the Perkins Institution for the Blind, where she, a poor half blind Irish American orphan was educated But Miss Spitfire would also have been a good nickname for Helen, at least until Annie is able to break through the barriers of frustration, isolation, and inadequate discipline to reach Helen, to teach her the magic of words, of language.And indeed, I most highly recommend Miss Spitfire for older children, young adults, and really for anyone who enjoys engaging, novelistic biographies and of course, for anyone interested in the lives of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan For Sarah Miller truly has a way with words Annie and Helen are not just stock characters in an informative non fiction account of Helen Keller s awakening they are living, breathing, emotionally nuanced characters, starring in an inspiring story from despair to hope, frustration to joy, isolation to communication.

  2. says:

    This book almost got a place on my favorites shelf.A huge thank you to Goodreads friend Gundula for rescuing this book from the morass of my bloated to read shelf and inspiring me to read it with her review and her various comments about it It hooked me in right from the start I have always been fascinated by the lives of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller Here, I really loved Annie s first person voice in this novel, as a twenty year old sent to teach six year old Helen Keller, at times reminiscing about her past This historical fiction story did a fabulous job of conveying the needs and desires of the young Annie Sullivan I loved seeing things from her point of view I felt so deeply for Annie, as well as for Helen The book is fiction but there are many non fiction extras There are fabulous non fiction extras There are wonderful photos of Helen, Annie, Helen s house of birth, etc including the famous water pump There are acknowledgements and a information section with books, online, video And there s a very useful chronology timeline going from Annie s birth to Helen s death.So, this is a novel, and a kids novel, though one of those that can be equally enjoyed by all ages, I d say nine and up It s historical fiction but based on two very well known women The events in the book pretty much cover the same timeframe that was covered in The Miracle Worker movies The famous moment is shown as being somewhat different from the version in the movies, but the gist is the same At the beginning of each chapter, there are quotes taken from letters Annie wrote back to Perkin s School for the Blind when she was first trying to teach Helen Before Annie s accomplishment there was only one other deaf blind student who had learned language so successfully and Annie did make use of the techniques used with the other student, but she also used other various techniques to reach Helen, as well as her wit, her intuition, and she also made good use of her strength of character I had read Helen Keller s biography, and seen both Miracle Worker movies, but I learned quite a bit from reading this, though I do wonder how much was fictional and how much was fact I got a different take than I ve ever read been exposed to before now Annie s is a powerful voice and in this account she s just as interesting as is Helen.As I do with the movies, I cried myself silly as I read, especially as I anticipated that life changing moment The miracle of Helen Annie despite their many lifelong difficulties is inspiring, and I appreciate that here s another version of the story, and a very readable one it is

  3. says:

    Authors that try to tackle any aspect of Helen Keller s life in a children s literary format are simultaneously blessed and cursed On the one hand, talk about God s gift to authors The emotional ups and downs of Helen s tale, the dare I say hope of her life, I mean she s a great historical character Loads interesting to a nine year old than your average everyday biographical figures So there s that On the other hand, none of this is a secret As a result, my library s Helen Keller section of biographies is rivaled only by Martin Luther King Jr So when I saw that someone had done a middle grade work of fiction regarding Helen and Annie Sullivan s early days, I hardly gave it a thought Why read what we already know I mean, if everyone knows a series of facts about someone, can there be any worthwhile reason to read yet ANOTHER story about her life and trials The answer, as it happens, is yes Debut author Sarah Miller shows us that even the most familiar story can become edge of your seat gripping when the writing s cool and collected.There s a reason this book is called Miss Spitfire Turns out, that was the nickname bestowed on Annie Sullivan when she attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind Irish, alone in the world, half blind, and with guts galore, Ms Sullivan is terrified at the prospect of her very first job She s being sent to work with one Helen Keller, a blind, deaf child The hope is to work a miracle on her and teach her to bridge the gap between signing and the use of words The task turns out to be than she gambled for, however, when it appears that Helen has had the run of her household for years Uncivilized, uncouth, and unrepentant, her wishy washy parents have failed to discipline, thereby allowing Helen to always get what she wants If Annie didn t see Helen coming, though, you can be darn certain that Helen didn t see Annie either Now the battle between the two firebrands has begun and it s time to see whether or not the stubbornness of a child who has always had her way can compete with the stubbornness of a woman as tough and smart as Annie Sullivan.The reason the Helen Keller story works is because Helen is hell on earth She s not the angelic creature just waiting for a helping hand No dewy eyed, saintly personality challenged na f she She s not Little Eva or Little Nell No she was, to use my grandmother s phrase, a pistol So for a book like this to work you need to really feel for Annie Sullivan When Helen cracks her in the jaw with a hardheaded doll, you have to want to strangle the child with your own bare hands and not just Annie s As an author, Miller s smart enough to know how to tease out the dramatic elements of this tale Seeing Ms Sullivan s background, you are all the impressed at her restraint around Helen Considering that the girl has enough crafty qualities to try the patience of a saint, and considering that Ms Sullivan s own father was abusive, you would think such tendency towards violence might easily pass down from father to daughter Instead, the opposite is true She does not hit because she knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of a blow I was very taken with the moral in this story that rules and order breed love It is Annie s restraint and discipline that in the end manages to tease out that love.For me, the book is summarized nicely in the real life quote taken from Anne Sullivan s letters to a Ms Sophia Hopkins, appearing at the beginning of Chapter Six The greatest problem I shall have to solve is how to discipline and control her without breaking her spirit In the solution we find the heart of the novel I ve read very little historical fiction this year that stayed with me I like to think that Ms Miller s book is one of the few worth keeping close at hand A really enjoyable story.

  4. says:

    By rights I should ve finished this in a day but, you know, real life Fantastic book Excuse me while I go pull The Story of My Life off the shelf, and track down the Helen Keller chapter book I wore out as a kid This remains one of my favorite stories.

  5. says:

    A great insight to how Annie struggled with teaching Helen and how her own childhood played into that I did feel that the dialogue was at times too modern for that period of time Although this is essentially a juvenile fiction book I didn t feel it was geared to just young people 3.5 stars.

  6. says:

    This was a fascinating look at the story of Hellen Keller from the first person perspective of her teacher, Annie Sullivan Annie had a difficult life growing up, and had earned the nickname Miss Spitfire because she was so ornery and fought back so often She was as strong willed as they come, and it took her personality to match that of Helen s As a child, Helen was ornery and destructive, wild and with few to no manners In order to teach her, Annie first had to tame her Although it isn t a book about parenting, I found myself making connections between Annie s experiences with Helen and parenting discipline in general, as apropos for modern readers as it was in 1887 Helen s parents were spoiling her in the mistaken notion that they were showing her love by not disciplining her They feel sorry for her because she cannot see or hear, and therefore permit her to do things such as wandering around the table grabbing food from everyone s plate but her own She is apt to fly into rages if she doesn t get her way, which usually works to her advantage as they placate her to end the tantrum When Annie comes on the scene, all that changes She recognizes that Helen shouldn t be held to lower standards because of her disabilities, nor her behavior tolerated If Helen were a seeing child, you d expect me to turn her over my knee for the trouble she s caused she thinks at one point But in my heart I know what s right for Helen obedience, love, and language Come what may and hell to pay, I ll find a way to give her all three, she says at the end of one chapter That s a lesson many parents myself included need to remember When Annie gets into a clash with Helen s parents about discipline, Annie challenges them to ask when is an appropriate age to expect of her Will she magically grow out of her tantrums at 12 18 What will happen when she s strong enough that her parents can t contain her any In other words, discipline and obedience are imperative to be taught at a young age rather than excusing away poor behavior with oh, that s just how kids are I was inspired by Annie s astute observation of what Helen really needed, and amazed that she was bold enough to stand up to Helen s parents older than Annie by at least a decade in order to do what was best for Helen Helen Keller would not have become the woman she was without the love and persistance of Teacher, Annie Sullivan Even though I knew what Helen s breakthrough moment would be, I still cried reading it because of how sweetly it was told and what it took to get to that moment This is a book I d highly recommend for young readers and adults alike.

  7. says:

    Miller, Sarah 2007 Miss Spitfire Reaching Helen Keller.I don t quite remember when I first saw the movie The Miracle Worker, but I do remember it making a great impact on me I remember being fascinated with finger spelling, particularly the famous w a t e r and d o l l I do know that at some point afterwards, I learned the alphabet It s something I still know to this day, though I don t place too much confidence on my being able to remember x or z or q on demand But there is something about this story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan that has always fascinated me So when I first read about Miss Spitfire, I was excited Very excited I wanted to track down a copy of this book quickly Very quickly.But enough about my pre reading activity What did I think of Miss Spitfire I loved it Absolutely loved it True, I was already interested in the story Already compelled to love it based on my prior history, but Sarah Miller s writing was remarkable I not only fell in love with the story I fell in love with how she told the story I m not sure I can do this job Yet a part of me understands Helen better than she does herself I m no stranger to frustration, anger, isolation I wonder, though, how Helen can be content to deprive herself of my affection The thought of her indifference makes my throat sting, yet I can t help feeling drawn to her If I could only touch her heart, I know I could reach her mind But she won t even let me hold her hand 43 It seems nothing I do comes out right But in my heart I know what s right for Helen obedience, love, and language Come what may and hell to pay, I ll find a way to give her all three 64 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 in the past to base their hopes and dreams on Laura Bridgman But Annie is strong minded and determined She ll need every ounce of stubborness she has if she s going to master the willfullness 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 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.And for the record, I loved, loved, loved the ending It was oh so magical.

  8. says:

    This book is the story of Helen Keller s teacher, Annie Sullivan, as she struggles to teach a girl who can neither hear, see, nor speak She displays incredible strength and determination as she sacrifices herself completely for Helen Almost everyone knows this story, but hearing it from the teacher s point of view is a really unique insight This delightful debut novel will keep you rooting for teacher and student right up until its triumphant ending In my heart I know what s right for Helen obedience, love, and language Come what may and hell to pay, I ll find a way to give her all three.

  9. says:

    Teachers strive to inspire their students to do their best, to expand their horizons, and to challenge themselves Annie Sullivan s life was one challenge after another, and her first teaching charge was no exception Helen Keller was blind, deaf, and completely wild when Annie first came into her life Little did either of them know then that they would have a breakthrough within weeks of Annie s arrival, and that they would remain friends for the rest of Annie s life.MISS SPITFIRE Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller covers approximately the first month of Annie s work with Helen Each chapter notes the date and contains a line or two from an actual letter written by Annie at that time Annie narrates the story in first person as she comes to know Helen and her family She speaks up when Helen s parents treat their daughter too gently, all the while wishing her own parents had been there for her Meeting Helen s older brothers brings up both fond and sad memories of her beloved brother Jimmy Annie begins teaching Helen to spell by tracing letters in her palm and insisting that Helen spell out what she does and what she wants.Sarah Miller s debut shows a great deal of compassion You can tell that the author has done her research, and that she wanted to stay true to the real events in Annie s life The relationship between Annie and Helen was rocky at the start, and though Miller handles it with care, she never idealizes it nor sensationalizes it She isn t afraid to show Annie physically struggling with her wild student, who bruised her teacher with her tiny yet powerful fists.The novel is fueled by truth, determination, and introspection This is not only about teaching Helen how to spell doll or water, but about reaching her Annie wanted Helen to really know what she was spelling to honestly communicate to fully understand.Recommended for ages 8 and up for all ages, really.

  10. says:

    Full disclosure I have always been fascinated by the story of Helen Keller, but even by her teacher Annie Sullivan One of my books on a long ago Scholastic Book order back in elementary school was Helen Keller s Teacher I read about Annie Sullivan s horrendous childhood, years of which were spent at the almshouse Tewksbury in Massachusetts There her beloved brother Jimmy died of tuberculosis, leaving her alone, angry, and blinded by glaucoma Miraculously, she found her way to an education and, her sight mostly restored through surgeries and for lack of any other real career possibilities, she accepted the job offer from the Kellers in Tuscumbia, Alabama Years later I read the book to my own children and when we were able to stop at Ivy Green in Tuscumbia on our way to Memphis, suffice to say, Nick and Kat were properly impressed All this by way of saying, I knew I had to read Miss Spitfire and I only hoped that its author would do the story right Sarah Miller did The years at Tewksbury are there, the horror of Jimmy s death, the desperation with which Annie threw herself at a visiting delegation to the alsmhouse, begging to go to school These flashbacks show how Anne Sullivan grew into a twenty year old determined to make her own way.The story is told from Annie s point of view, and the reader hears all her anger, frustration, intelligence, and love, as she tries to essentially tame her student so that Helen can be released from her overwhelming isolation That she was able to do so less than two months after her arrival at Ivy Green is a testament not so much to her natural teaching ability but to her identification with Helen s loneliness Sarah Miller, if I got a vote on the Newbery, it would be yours Thanks for a truly lovely read.