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The Year of Miss Agnes


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About The Book

A year they'll never forget
Ten-year-old Frederika (Fred for short) doesn't have much faith that the new teacher in town will last very long. After all, they never do. Most teachers who come to their one-room schoolhouse in remote, Alaska leave at the first smell of fish, claiming that life there is just too hard.
But Miss Agnes is different -- she doesn't get frustrated with her students, and she throws away old textbooks and reads Robin Hood instead! For the first time, Fred and her classmates begin to enjoy their lessons and learn to read and write -- but will Miss Agnes be like all the rest and leave as quickly as she came?

Reading Group Guide

Ten-year-old Fred (Frederika) tells the story of school and village life among the Athabascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrives to be yet another new teacher.
Schools; Teachers; Alaska; Indians of North America
• Why didn't Fred's mother think school was important?
• Why do you think teachers always wanted to leave the village?
• What are some differences between Fred's school day and yours? Are there any similarities?
• The book is dedicated to Sylvia Ashton-Warner. Research this person.
• Research the Native American groups of Alaska and chart them on a map of Alaska.
• Study the American Sign Language alphabet. Learn signs for words significant to this story.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Diana Enriquez, Quinton Heights Elementary
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
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About The Author

Photo Credit:

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. Hill is the mother of six children and the grandmother of eight. Her books Toughboy and Sister, Winter Camp, and The Year of Miss Agnes have all been immensely popular. Her fourth book, Dancing at the Odinochka, was a Junior Library Guild Selection.

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Awards and Honors

  • Alaska Battle of the Books Lis

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More books from this author: Kirkpatrick Hill