by Sarah Miller
"Annie Sullivan was little more than a half-blind orphan with a fiery tongue when she arrived at Ivy Green in 1887. Desperate 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 more 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."
There is nothing really new here if you have read anything else about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, or watched any of The Miracle Worker movies. But it is such a remarkable story, that it bears review. I appreciated the glimpses into Annie's past - what a remarkable woman to come from such poverty and abuse. In this day and age of dystopian and paranormal books, I hope kids will take the time to read this and discover real heroes, whose courage and compassion are something to look up to and emulate.
Areas of concern: The flashbacks to Annie's life with an abusive father and the wretchedness of life in the workhouse could be upsetting to the really sensitive.
Kirkus Reviews: Ages 9-14
School Library Journal: Grades 5-9