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Book: Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter... by Linda Schilling Mitchell

Book Review: Dear Miss Schneider, Please Excuse Walter... by Linda Schilling Mitchell

categories: Book, History, Great Depression, Education, Teacher's Gift, History Buffs, Teacher's Memoirs


Linda Schilling Mitchell

Author Linda Schilling Mitchellabout this book: It started out as a simple project to preserve a crumbling, old scrapbook. A scrapbook that was almost 75 years old.

It all began when my mother, "Miss Schneider" was a third grade teacher, between 1937-1940, in the northern Kentucky town of Newport. While teaching, she saved the notes sent in by parents explaining why their children were absent from school. These humble, heartfelt and often humorous "excuse" notes, provide a personal peek inside the lives of these families. The book also includes a photo and memorabilia biography of Miss Schneider's childhood, education and life.

During the six month process, I realized that others, besides my family, would enjoy looking back to this time period of the Great Depression. Educators, historians and people who lived during that era especially connect with the book.

The title was chosen because the notes begin with "Dear Miss Schneider, Please excuse..." and then the child's name. Of all the children, Walter needed to be in the title, because his name pops up throughout the book and he faced a variety of situations and issues. Many of the notes were written on scraps of brown paper, so the cover was fittingly designed to reflect that image.

There are many things to be learned from this book. Personally, I've developed a deep appreciation for the strength and hard work of the mothers of these young children during those extremely trying times. It's interesting to hear what other readers derive from its story too. From simple pleasure reading to teachers seeing the value of using the book in their classes. For me, that is especially rewarding, ... Miss Schneider is continuing to teach today, some 75 years later, through her students and her special scrapbook.

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A most endearing scrapbook collection of notes kept by a young third grade teacher during the great depression. I felt how difficult it must have been for those families and how much Miss Schneider felt for those children. It made me wonder where life led them. [by Irene Gomes]

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