Author Elizabeth Winthrop

Author Elizabeth Winthrop's Visit to Perrot:

Elizabeth Winthrop, author of Counting on Grace, visited with YCC and Y2C2 on April 7th, 2006 to discuss her book. Ms. Winthrop is the bestselling author of more than 50 books for kids. She wrote the classic fantasy novel The Castle in the Attic, and her popular picture books include Dumpy La Rue, Dog Show, and Shoes. Ms. Winthrop divides her time between New York City and northwestern Massachusetts. Check out her website: www.ElizabethWinthrop.com.

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A little bit about the book:

Counting on Grace, by Elizabeth Winthrop *Click here to request this book*It is 1910. Grace Forcier is a twelve-year-old mill worker in rural Pownal, Vermont. She and her best friend, Arthur, have left school to work as  "doffers" on their mothers' looms in the local mill. Grace's mother is the best worker, fast and powerful, and Grace desperately wants to help her. But she's left handed and doffing is a right-handed job; Grace's every mistake costs her mother and her family. She only feels capable on Sundays, when she and Arthur receive special lessons from their teacher. Together they write a secret letter to the Child Labor Board about underage children working in the Pownal mill. A few weeks later, a man with a camera arrives: it is the famous reformer Lewis Hine, undercover, collecting evidence for the Child Labor Board. Grace's brief acquaintance with Hine and the photos he takes are a gift that changes her sense of herself and her future.

 

 

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Ms. Winthrop presented a digital slideshow of her experiences writing and researching Counting on Grace to the club members.

(Click on each photo to see a larger version.)

 

The talk Ms. Winthrop gave was about the research she did for Counting on Grace, particularly the story of the girl who appears on the book's cover.

 

Lewis Hine, a famous turn-of-the-century photographer, took pictures of children working in terrible conditions, to try to make change happen.

This boy, age 5, was a shrimp picker. He is standing in front of a mountain of oyster shells from oysters shucked by child labor.

This is a detail of a photograph Lewis Hine took of a young mill worker from Vermont named Addie Card. This photograph became very famous...

...so famous that it even appeared on this recent U.S. postage stamp.

Ms. Winthrop explained how taken she was by Addie's photograph, and she went on a fascinating historical hunt to find out more about her.

This is the mill where Addie worked, which was not far from Ms. Winthrop's home. The mill is no longer there, but a plaque on the site describes it.

Ms. Winthrop was happy to find out that at least Addie lived to ripe old age, and had grandchildren and great-grandchildren who adored her.

The funny part is, neither Addie nor her relatives ever even knew about the photo Lewis Hine took of her, or how famous it became!

The YCC and Y2C2 members had lots of questions about Ms. Winthrop's research, and how it affected her book.

The kids suggested that Ms. Winthrop write a non-fiction book about her compelling real-life story from history.

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[ Youth Services Photos ]

Perrot Memorial Library Youth Services Department, Old Greenwich, Connecticut