Seeing Lessons

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2000

By Spring Hermann, Reviewed by Ellen Baldwin

Seeing Lessons book cover

Seeing Lessons by Spring Hermann; Henry
Holt and Company: New York, 1998; $15.95

This book takes place in Andover and Boston, Massachusetts during the 1830s. Blind at birth, a ten-year-old girl, Abbie, and her sister Sophia, who is six, go to the first school in America for the blind. Dr. Howe, with a kind heart, took the challenge of turning his home into a school for the first six blind students. He did this without accepting anything in return. Most people these days wouldn’t have done what Dr. Howe did, and if someone did, he would probably demand payment. Later on, Colonel Perkins donated a mansion for the blind school. It was named Perkins School for the Blind and taught students to never give up.

The book also had humorous parts. One of my favorites was when Dr. Howe blindfolded himself to see what it was like to be blind and to gain sympathy for the children. During the experience, he walked straight into a door in front of the students and the two teachers from France and Scotland! It was so funny it kept me laughing all night.

In one part of this book Abbie becomes very jealous of Sophia. People started to say that Sophia was so “sweet to see” that she must have her picture painted to earn money for the school fair. To make matters worse, Abbie had to listen to Sophia’s never-ending bragging. Abbie also felt left out because all of the other students had a job except for her. Surprisingly, even though Sophia had been so mean, Abbie was still thoughtful toward Sophia. When Abbie was given a job at the fair, I was amazed that, after all of Sophia’s boasting, she asked Dr. Howe if Sophia could do the job with her.

I recommend this book to everyone. It teaches lessons about life, like compassion, thoughtfulness, and to never give up.

Seeing Lessons Ellen Baldwin

Ellen Baldwin, 9
Floyd Knobs, Indiana

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