Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Black Beauty

Sherry at Semicolon notes that today is Anna Sewell's birthday. I never knew anything about Sewell's life. Sherri's information is fascinating although I'm afraid Ginger's death put me off horse books forever.
She began writing Black Beauty when she was in her forties after a doctor told her she had only a year to live. The book actually took her more than five years to write, and she died a few months after its publication.
I have never understood how you can teach literature without sharing information about the author's life. An amazing first grade teacher I know does in-depth author studies with her class every year. Her students can tell you anything you want to know about Jan Brett, Marc Brown, Mercer Mayer and Norman Bridwell. Their knowledge brings an extra richness and enjoyment to the books as they share them. I have long held that high school literature teachers should use her model to teach 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm and Shakespeare.

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