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The Year of Miss Agnes

The Year of Miss Agnes

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The Year of Miss Agnes

4.5/5 (26 Bewertungen)
77 Seiten
1 Stunde
Aug 26, 2008


From Scribd: About the Book

Frederika, Fred for short, is a ten-year-old student who attends a one-room schoolhouse in remote Alaska in 1948. Typically, the teachers don’t last long there. Between the freezing temperatures and the ever-present smell of fish, most say that it’s just too hard to live there. So when Miss Agnes comes into town and starts teaching at her school, Fred doesn’t have much faith that she’ll stick around.

Little does she know, Miss Agnes is not like those other teachers. She is patient. She doesn’t get frustrated with the children in her classroom. She’s actually kind of fun. Soon, the children are beginning to enjoy lessons and are learning more quickly than they ever have before. But is Miss Agnes going to stick around?

This novel by Kirkpatrick Hill is published by Aladdin and is part of the Aladdin Historical Fiction series. Though the characters are fictional, this story is an accurate summary of what it might be like to live and attend school in an Athapascan village in Alaska in 1948. The Aladdin Historical Fiction series is popular among teachers and is a great resource for homeschooling.

Aug 26, 2008

Über den Autor

Kirkpatrick Hill lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. She was an elementary school teacher for more than thirty years, most of that time in the Alaskan “bush.” She has written several books for young readers, including Toughboy and Sister, Winter Camp, and the award-winning The Year of Miss Agnes.

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The Year of Miss Agnes - Kirkpatrick Hill

The Year of Miss Agnes

Kirkpatrick Hill

David Caplan

Margaret K. McElderry Books


Also by Kirkpatrick Hill:

Toughboy and Sister

Winter Camp

The Year of Miss Agnes

Kirkpatrick Hill

Margaret K. McElderry Books


Margaret K. McElderry Books

An imprint of the Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

Copyright © 2000 by Kirkpatrick Hill

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Book design by David Caplan

The text of this book is set in Adobe Caslon.

Printed in the United States of America

8 10 9

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hill, Kirkpatrick.

The year of Miss Agnes / Kirkpatrick Hill.  p.  cm.

Summary: Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athabascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.

ISBN 0-689-82933-7

ISBN: 978-0-689-82933-8

eISBN: 978-1-43913-179-4

[1. Schools—Fiction. 2. Teachers—Fiction. 3. Athapascan Indians—Fiction. 4. Indians of North America—Alaska—Fiction. 5. Alaska—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.H55285  Ye2000  [Fic]—dc21  99-46912

In memory of Sylvia Ashton-Warner, and for all unorthodox teachers, especially Margaret Lay-Dopyera of Syracuse University

Chapter 1

What will happen now?" I asked Mamma as we watched the plane take the teacher away.

Maybe no more school. Mamma twitched her shoulder a little to show she didn’t care. Mamma never went to school much, just a few months here and there when her family wasn’t trapping or out at spring muskrat camp. She said she hated school when she was little.

The little plane circled our village and then flew low over Andreson’s store and waggled its wings at us. That was Sam White, the pilot, saying good-bye to us.

It was Sam White laughing, too. Sam thought nearly everything was funny. He had just landed with the mail and there the new teacher was, waiting for him when he opened the door of the cockpit. She pushed right through the rest of us and started talking before Sam even got to say hello.

Wait for me, it will only take a minute, she’d said. Please. Take me back to town. I can’t stay in this place for another second.

And he’d waited, and she’d come tumbling out of her little cabin, leaving the door open, leaving everything behind but the two suitcases she carried. It was kind of funny, how she looked. I could tell Sam thought so, the way he winked at us. And then Sam had helped her into the plane and the engine had roared and they were up and over the spruce trees and on their way.

I knew what she would tell Sam. She’d tell how Amy Barrington had got mad and had busted in her door because the teacher bought mukluks from Julia Pitka instead of her. And she’d tell about the big boys who didn’t listen. And she’d tell about the fish.

When we brought our lunch to school, it would always be fish. Salmon strips or kk’oontseek, dried fish eggs, to eat on pilot crackers. Or half-dried fish. The oil would get on the little kids’ faces and on the desks.

Heavens, don’t you ever eat anything but fish? And she’d make us go to the basin and try to scrub the fish smell away with lots of Fels Naptha soap, and then with a bad face she’d scrub the oily ring from the washbasin.

That one time, she pushed Plasker away from her desk when she was helping him with his arithmetic.

"You smell of fish," she said, real mad, with her teeth together. Plasker looked scared.

I was helping my old man bale whitefish, he said. He was pretty nervous, wiping his hands on his pants as if that would help.

The teacher told him to sit down, and she didn’t even help him with his arithmetic. There were tears in her eyes. Right there we knew she was not going to stay with us.

We had a whole bunch of teachers since they started the school here, back when I was six. Some left before the year was over. Some stayed one whole school year. But none ever came back after the summer.

Sometimes we could see the look on their faces the first week they were here, cleaning out their little cabin, putting up pictures on the walls. The ones who looked mean from the very first lasted the longest. It was the ones who smiled all the time and pretended to like everything who didn’t last.

Maybe they were running out of teachers and we wouldn’t get another one.

But in just a week Sam brought us a new teacher.

I was helping Old Man Andreson in the store when Sam came in. It was my job to cross off every day on the calendar with an X so Old Man Andreson wouldn’t get mixed up and forget what day it was. And it was the first day of a new month, so I had to tear that last month off, too. October 1, it was now—1948.

Sam was really big and tall, and when I was little, he always used to lift me up and make my head touch the ceiling. Now I was too big for that, so he just stuck me on top of the counter.

Fred! I brought you a new teacher. I kidnapped her. What do you think about that?

I had a bad feeling about that, so I asked him, Is she nice?

Oh-ho, said Sam. This

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26 Bewertungen / 13 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    In her small Alaskan village, Fred (short for Frederika) is used to having teachers come and go...but mostly go. This teacher seems different. Miss Agnes doesn't mind the fish smell from lunch, she puts the dingy old books in storage and covers the walls with maps and pictures and reads aloud. She even invites Fred's older sister Bokko to come to school even though she's deaf. The students know that they only have Miss Agnes for one year before she moves back to England but they are determined to learn as much reading, writing and math as they can - and so is Miss Agnes. This book makes me smile! I love the simple dedication Miss Agnes has to teaching and the pride Fred and the other students take in their learning is fantastic. Between being set in 1948 and in the Alaskan wild, there is a lot for students to take in that is quite different than the world they know.
  • (5/5)
    What a wonderful and cute book for a child :) I had to read it for my teaching class and it had a lot of great examples of what it is to be a good teacher.
  • (5/5)
    I read this aloud to my children 9 and 12. We were all delighted with the book and will undoubtedly read more of her work. I'm sure her personal experience with the social and geographical aspects of her subjects plays a role, but she has the gift of expression to connect the reader with her actors, and she unites a universal understanding of the human condition with timeless wisdom in some of her characters in ways that reach and touch the reader in deep and thoughtful places.
  • (5/5)
    It's so good. My teacher like to read that book.
  • (4/5)
    Lovely. Heart-warming, entertaining, and educational.

    First, though, I have to disagree just a bit with another reviewer who accuses this of being just another unrealistic story about the amazing success of an inspirational teacher. Miss Agnes had already honed her craft on other Alaskan children for years in another, larger school. And most of these kids were *eager* to learn whatever they could in between all the migratory fishing and trapping activities.

    And Miss Agnes knew enough about their traditional culture to respect it. Compared to the other teachers who had tried to serve in this village, almost anybody could have had some success - Miss Agnes had more because she knew her stuff - and because the student body, even at full-capacity, was fewer than a dozen students in all grades together.

    And that's what made this very short book so successful for me. I did believe in it, and Miss Agnes' teaching strategies, with all my heart. I especially found the details of Alaskan life and culture, circa 1948, very interesting. I like how Fred tells Grandpa that 10M. people died in WWII, 20 M wounded, and Grandpa reflects about how isolated they were, and how they had no idea the war was such a big deal.

    Lots of good stuff in a very short book. Hill could have written an adult-sized novel, but instead she pared every non-essential episode, every non-essential word, from the story, making it accessible to even the youngest independent readers. A fast reader should take the time to reread it, and catch more of the details as they skip by.
  • (4/5)
    Very inspiring story of a teacher who came to a small community in Alaska where she transformed the environment of the school and changed lives of students and parents alike. I think it would have appealed to me in upper elementary school grades.
  • (5/5)
    Fiction: Chapter BookHill, Kirkpatrick The Year of Miss Agnes. Simon &Schuster, 2000. 115p. Upper ElementaryIn 1948, in a small Athabascan village on the Koyukuk River, 10-year old Fred, her deaf sister Bokko, and the other children, get a new teacher, Miss Agnes Sutterfield, originally from England. This is Fred’s first person account. Told using words a child of that place and time would use; it is easy-to read. The tone is heart-warming and hopeful. Theme is the great value of a teacher who believes in her students.AK: Athabascan village life, Koyukuk River, fish campActivity: Have the students find the Koyukuk River on a map. Ask them is they would like to have a teacher like Miss Agnes-why or why not?
  • (4/5)
    Told from the perspective of ten year old Fredericka, the reader is drawn into the story of a beloved teacher who changes the lives of her young pupils.The year is 1948 and while many teachers have come and gone, Miss Agnes is different. Unafraid of the rough Alaskan frontier, and empathetic to children who have rudimentary social and intellectual skills, the children thrive under her tutelage.This is a wonderful story, filled with hope and courage.With a gift of teaching and the ability to impart the thrill of knowledge, this is a woman who made a difference, simply by being herself and accepting others.
  • (4/5)
    Though she is just ten years old, Frederika has seen many teachers come and go from the school in her village. For some, it is too remote from the rest of civilization. For some, the hardships are too great. For some, the constant smell of fish is just too overpowering. In October of 1948, one such teacher leaves the village -- and another one comes. Miss Agnes, a veteran teacher who has worked for years in another part of Alaska, was on her way home to England, but she agreed to stay through the school year to help out Fred's community. Miss Agnes is a teacher like none Fred and her friends have ever met. She wears pants! She throws away the battered old schoolbooks and brings out her own collection of books, maps, and supplies! She even encourages Fred's older sister, who is deaf, to attend school, and she and the children learn sign language together. Miss Agnes talks about children from Fred's village as if they have a future beyond the confines of their rural area, and the children start to believe it, too. But what will happen when the year is up and Miss Agnes returns to England? Will everything go back to the way it was?I had never heard of this book until I picked it up from the library shelf, where it was languishing in quiet obscurity. It portrays a way of life that will be unfamiliar to many readers, coupled with the tale of the triumph of alternative methods of education. I enjoyed the story, though it's a quiet one that will not necessarily appeal to all readers.
  • (3/5)
    This book is one of the selections in our reading adoption. I attempted to read it with the lowest fourth grade reading group. We got about five chapters in and my students were not engaged in the story. I think the vocabulary was a bit much for them. I found myself explaining way too many things throughout the first five chapters. I enjoyed the book and may use it again with a different group of students.
  • (4/5)
    In a one room schoolhouse in a small village in Alaska, Agnes Sutterfield begins teaching and completely changes the community. Unlike the other teachers that the students have had, Miss Agnes is different. She doesn’t complain about the fishy smell that never seems to go away. She even gets to school early to make sure the school house is warm and comfortable for the students. Miss Agnes changes everything. With her strange accent and fun-loving nature she lights up the children’s faces when she is in their presence. Miss Agnes cares for everyone. She tutors students and parents in her own home and even learns sign language so a child’s sister can attend school. Miss Agnes impacts the entire community through her teaching and generosity. This is truly an inspirational book for anyone who reads it. A perfect edition in any elementary classroom library, The Year of Miss Agnes is a wonderful read-aloud to get a school year started off right.
  • (4/5)
    This book tells the poignant story of the students in a one-room school in a remote Alaskan town during the 1940's. Due to its remote location, difficult lifestyle, and unruly children, the community has difficulty in both attracting and keeping teachers. As a last-ditch effort to save the school, the superintendent sends Miss Agnes, the quirky and indomitable British schoolteacher, to the small town. Miss Agnes both encourages and challenges her students, tailoring their education to their environment, culture and upbringing. The children blossom into excited, active learners with an understanding of the wider world and their place in it. This warm story will appeal to children who are interested in history or Alaskan life, but will appeal more generally to anyone who has had an amazing teacher change their life.
  • (3/5)
    Another Battle of the Books selection. Set in a poor Alaskan fishing community in the early 1900’s, this book is a story about a one-room schoolhouse. Reminded me of Little House on the Prairie in Alaska.