Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Year of Miss Agnes - Review

Zach and I read the Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill as part of his core 1 Sonlight curriculum. Yet again Sonlight came through for us and picked a winner. Zach loved it, and I enjoyed reading it with him.

In the novel, our main character is a little girl growing up in a remote Alaskan Indian village. In the first pages, we see yet another teacher in their one-room schoolhouse has quit, but not before insulting the children and expressing her disgust at their culture and customs (such as eating lots of fish). There is apprehension as they wait to see who will be next to teach them. Fortunately, that "who" is Miss Agnes. She brings with her fresh ideas, shelves the old books and opens up a whole new world of thoughts and ideas to the children, inspiring not only the children but the parents to shift some of their ideas. A strong theme in the book is who needs school and how much, including teaching of the deaf, schooling beyond the basic (college) and attitudes towards schooling in a native culture. I won't spoil the ending for you, but suffice to say it leaves open a nice discussion and some thought. My son still likes to come up to me (weeks later) and discuss this novel.

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