Esteemed thinker: Anne Sullivan

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The alphabet is one of our most progressive inventions, a unique concept with such profound implications. The act of stringing together characters to create a word, which has the ability to change meaning by the mere manipulation of its placement in a row, is indeed extraordinary. The word “but” is a conjunction, however switch the letters and we get “tub”, a noun.  Then if we add a few letters we can have the word “cat” and with the addition of an “s”, placed before or after the word, we get two distinct words and two different definitions,  “cats” or “scat”. Put them together with a space between and we have a sentence “scat cat!”

One can all agree that the inventions of the 21st century certainly have improved our lives, but let us not forget those that came before us… the offering that has most likely contributed most universally, impacting and influencing effects on civilization to the greatest degree… the alphabet.

Today’s blog brings you the esteemed thinker: Anne Sullivan (1866anne sullivan-1836) (Born Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy). An accomplished American educator, she is best known as the teacher and companion of Helen Keller. Anne was born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts to Irish immigrants who came to the United States to escape the notorious potato famine.  Sullivan and her surviving siblings grew up in impoverished conditions, and struggled with health problems. Anne contracted an eye disease, trachoma, at the age of five and nearly caused her to lose her sight. Her mother suffered from tuberculosis and died when Anne was eight years old.

Left with an abusive father, she and her brother were sent to live at an almshouse for the poor, however after a short time the younger brother dies and Anne is left alone.  Wanting to get an education, she convinces a prominent group of inspectors of the almshouse to allow her to leave and she is sent to the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Having never attended school, she proves that she is intelligent and quick learner, tutoring other students at the school. After undergoing surgery, she regains some of her own vision back.

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Overcoming her own disabilities, in 1887, Anne Sullivan accepts a positon of teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. To prepare herself, Sullivan studies the case of a former Perkins student who was also blind, deaf, and mute who had been taught to communicate through the use of raised letters and manual language.

Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, the previously difficult and defiant Helen Keller flourishes, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the Sullivan’s death in 1936.

 

First image: Photograph of sculpture by Robert Indiana, 1970

 

Taking control

Like all readers, not all reading problems are alike. That means by defining which area(s) a reader needs “a boost in” can significantly improve reading understanding as well as self-esteem.

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First Aid for Readers is a self-help guide for those who are having difficulty when they read. It can be followed at home, in school, in the library, during teacher instruction, or in any activity involving reading. It is a first aid kit for readers presented in an easy to follow format.

So, if you know a reader…share the link!

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Calling all book clubs! Let me send you a copy!

Thank you book lovers for the wonderful response!

“Reviewers’ Choice 2015”: a selected Indie release favorite. “… the most beloved books among the best we’ve read.” – Foreword Reviews

An epic novel of substance and style, Orphan in America is a compelling fiction that follows three generations across vast distances and the impact of a dark and unfamiliar episode of America’s past; the Orphan Train.Orphan in America front cover_with badge

Book Clubs across the United States, would you like 1 free print copy ? At this time I have 7 novels to give-away to historical fiction book lovers. Perhaps your club would enjoy this “2014 Best Indie Book!” as your next reading club selection.

Here’s how: Send the name of your book group, along with a contact person and mailing address to: mrsavery@ hotmail.com. On the subject line write Book Club Entry.

The first 7 clubs to respond will be be notified by email and receive their complimentary copy shipped directly to them.

I apologize to my friends off the continental U.S. At this time the offer is via snail mail traveling just across from east to west coast and north and south on the mainland. 

However!!! For those book clubs anywhere on the globe, if you choose to read on a Kindle, it is available as an ebook. Kindle edition

Here is a preview of the print copy your club can read of Orphan in America!   Orphan in America

GOOD LUCK! I am honored that you care enough to respond. Thank you!

 

 

Esteemed thinker: Harold Arlen

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Perhaps one of the most enchanting forms that takes shape in nature is the rainbow; an arch of colors that will appear as if out of nowhere.  From behind a veil of grey clouds, after a dreary day, the rainbow brightens the slate sky like a flashy peacock unfanning its feathers. This kaleidoscopic ribbon stretches itself across the sky for all to see, and then, without much warning, fizzles away, leaving behind a wanting of more.

Today’s blog brings to you the esteemed thinker: Harold Arlen (1905, Buffalo NY- 1986 ) born Hymen Arluck, the son of an acclaimed synagogue cantor and became one of Americas greatest song writers and composers.  At the age of nine his mother bought him a piano, though slowly warming up to the instrument as a reluctant student of classical music. But his attitude soon changed when at the age of twelve he learned a ragtime piece. Suddenly he was inspired. Harold_Arlen_1960

He quit school at fifteen to play at movie houses and by twenty-one he had his first solo piano piece published, “Minor Gaff (Blues Fantasy).”

Arlen compositions were unique, longer than the 32-bar ditties his most composers of the time were writing. His songs had grand leaps from one note to another —often considered a challenge for singers — and traces of melancholy. In 1933, he was writing for Harlem’s most popular nightclub, and with lyricist Ted Koehler, produced a song that was exceptional, “Stormy Weather.”

In 1938, Arlen and lyricist Yip Harburg were working the film The Wizard of Oz. For 14 weeks — and $25,000 — they composed one amazing song after another; they called them “lemon drop songs.” IT was “Over the Rainbow” that became a sensation for the movie and Judy Garland at the start of her career.

Arlene had a most successful career, collaborating with the greatest of the Tin Pan Alley lyricists, including Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Leo Robin, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields and Truman Capote.