Hall, Becky 1950–
Hall, Becky 1950–
Born 1950; married; children: two. Education: College degree. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, dogs, traveling with her family.
Educator and author. Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School, Salt Lake City, UT, teacher and library media specialist.
A Is for Arches: A Utah Alphabet Book, illustrated by Katherine Larson, Sleeping Bear Press (Chelsea, MI), 2003.
Morris and Buddy: The Story of the First Seeing Eye Dog, illustrated by Doris Ettlinger, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2007.
A teacher and library media specialist, Becky Hall is also a writer whose first published book, A Is for Arches: A Utah Alphabet Book, introduces readers to the unique aspects of the western state where Hall lives. An interest in seeing eye dogs inspired her second book, Morris and Buddy: The Story of the First Seeing Eye Dog, the biography of Morris Frank. Blinded at age sixteen during a boxing match, Frank traveled from his home in New York City to Vevey, Switzerland in 1928, where he met dog trainers Dorothy Harrison Eustice and Jack Humphrey. Under the trainers' guidance, he worked with a trained German shepherd named Buddy who helped Frank learn to get around with relative independence. Although Hall ends her picture-book biography at the point where Frank completes his training and returns home to New York with Buddy, in the book's afterword she explains that Frank later became an advocate for the blind and ultimately went on to found the Seeing Eye School to train guide dogs for other blind people. Praising Hall for her "clearly written story," Carolyn Phelan wrote in Booklist that Morris and Buddy serves as "a fresh and engaging nonfiction choice" for elementary-grade readers. In School Library Journal, Kathleen Kelly MacMillan was equally enthusiastic, writing that the nonfiction work "reads like a story" and "ends on a high note."
In an interview for the Utah Children's Writers and Illustrators Web site, Hays advised beginning writers to read a wide range of children's literature and spend time around their intended audience. "You need to know the crazy way kids think and react to the world," she added. "Picking a mentor text is a good idea too. I don't mean copying someone else's style, but if you have a writer who is a mentor for you, you begin to notice what makes their writing work. That includes typing out their text and really studying it. Then a writer has to find his own style and have lots of faith, grit and determination. Never give up."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 1, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of Morris and Buddy: The Story of the First Seeing Eye Dog, p. 82.
School Library Journal, May, 2007, Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, review of Morris and Buddy, p. 116.
Utah Children's Writers and Illustrators Web site,http://www.ucwi.org/ (November 5, 2003), interview with Hall.