Mr. Schu: If you could sit down with Annie Sullivan and ask her one question, what would you ask?
Deborah Hopkinson: I think I would ask her if, in that spring of 1887 when she first set out to take a job teaching a little girl, if she could ever have imagined where it would take her, and that it would earn her a place in history.
Mr. Schu: What is one thing that surprised you while researching Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller?
Deborah Hopkinson: While I certainly knew that Annie Sullivan was a dedicated teacher, I was amazed to realize how young she was -- just 21 in the spring of 1887 – and how innovative her teaching methods were for the time। Something else surprised me too: the rapid progress Helen made. When Annie arrived in March, Helen didn’t understand how to use language. By July, she had written a simple letter!
Mr. Schu: My friend Donna and I visited Ivy Green a year ago. Touring Helen’s house, walking around her property, and seeing the water pump was deeply moving. Did you do any of your research at Ivy Green?
Deborah Hopkinson: I wish that I could have. Because I have a full time job in addition to writing, I don’t get to do as much on-site research as I would like. I would love to visit there someday.
Mr. Schu: What do you hope young readers learn from reading Annie and Helen?
Deborah Hopkinson: I think one of the things literature helps us do is become more empathetic. I hope that by learning more about Helen, young readers feel more compassionate to people who struggle to learn, whatever their obstacles may be.
Mr. Schu: Reading is...
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about…
Deborah Hopkinson: My new books! Next year I will have two new books. Knit Your Bit, A Story of World War I, which was inspired by the Central Park Knitting Bee of 1918, comes out in Spring 2013.
Then next fall, my middle grade novel, The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel, will be out. It takes place in 1854 during a terrible outbreak of cholera in London. I hope readers will find out more about my books by visiting my website. Thank you!
The third part of today's trifecta will post tomorrow. Please visit Nerdybookclub.com to read Deborah's post.
September 3rd: Bakers and Astronauts
September 4th: Two Writing Teachers
September 5th: Cracking the Cover
September 6th: Teach Mentor Texts
September 7th: Nonfiction Detectives
September 8th: Booking Mama
September 9th: Children’s Book Review
September 10th: Random Acts of Reading
September 11th: 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast