Thursday, January 3, 2008

Collectability : MISS SPITFIRE

Although this blog will regularly discuss older books, I also plan to point out current titles which may become collectable in the future. MISS SPITFIRE : REACHING HELEN KELLER is such a book. Written by Sarah Miller and published by Atheneum, this book relates the experiences of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. Those who know the story only from the play and film versions may be surprised by some of the elements here (who knew that Helen had a baby sister at the time she met Annie Sullivan?) More than just a "novelization" of historical events, this intrinsically dramatic and emotional story is given immediacy and focus by Annie Sullivan's spirited first-person narration. The tautly-written novel is illustrated with a photographic plates and will be enjoyed by middle-grade and young adult readers.

Why the book may become collectable:

It's a first book by a promising new author.

Those who collect books about Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan will want to add this volume to their libraries.

The story, which will never become dated, is likely to be just as powerful twenty years from now as it is today; young people who read it today may want to pass it on to their own children someday.

From a design perspective, the cover illustration has a strong impact. (A bookstore friend tells me it's one of the best dustjackets of the year, and practically sells itself to customers.) The title and subtitle are also included in raised Braille print on the dustjacket -- the kind of unique touch that is sometimes not repeated in later printings of a book.

First printing points:

The copyright page states "First edition" followed by the row of descending numbers: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. The front flap of the dustjacket has a price of $16.99 US at the top and 0707 (apparently the release date of July 2007) on the bottom.

Difficulty in finding first editions:

MISS SPITFIRE is already in later printings, but I'm sure that some stores still have the first edition on the shelf at this point. I predict that this book will become a favorite of many young readers and may be moderately difficult to find in first edition in the coming years.

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