- Nov. 29, 2018
-- Following the tumultuous and unexpected life of Zenaida Katzen, Simmonds' biography weaves disparate threads from Russia, China, Chile, France, and St. Kitts-Nevis into a vibrant tapestry revealing a surprising and exceptional woman. Stepping outside of the spinster-teacher archetype, Katzen's story is one of a complicated, fiercely independent woman whose decades of unwavering dedication and commitment to the education of children across the globe belie an intriguing, unpredictable and, at times, inexplicable personal life.
This book represents my first published work. I had neither the inclination nor the time to write this biography until eight years after Madame Katzen had passed away. For the next five years after I retired from the employ of the New York City Department of Education, my research took me to Chile, Shanghai, Hong Kong and France. As I tried to learn more about this amazing teacher, I had the good fortune to interview approximately 150 of Madame Katzen's former students from Chile and St. Kitts. http://www.irasimmonds.com