Mrs Beatons Questions

Secrets and stories straight-from-the-heart book about the Halifax School for the Blind has inspired a podcast and is now available in audio format.

Robert Mercer’s book, Mrs. Beaton’s Question: My Nine Years at the Halifax School for the Blind, has inspired the Tales from the Halifax School for the Blind podcast hosted by acclaimed singer, song-writer, professional speaker, Terry Kelly. 

Acorn Press will be hosting an online Zoom event with Terry Kelly and Robert Mercer to discuss the book and podcast on Wednesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time (8:30 p.m. Atlantic Time). Both  will be available to take questions  from the audience regarding the book and the podcast. Event details can be found on Acorn Press’s Facebook page HERE.

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Robert Mercer’s life could have been very different. He was born with very low vision and, as a youngster, struggled in school. But through the intervention of a caring teacher and the support of his family, he found his way to the Halifax School for the Blind and into the classroom of Mrs. Beaton. It was there that he discovered his voice, a voice he uses to recount his remarkable journey from a shy little boy to a community leader.

The print edition was published in 2019 by Acorn Press, and this month the audio book for Mrs. Beaton’s Question was released, making this historical record and inspiring story more accessible for a wider audience.

Some say,” A picture is worth a thousand words.” I say, “Robert Mercer’s book,  Mrs. Beaton’s Question conjures up and brings to life a thousand pictures.” 

As a former student of the Halifax School for the Blind, I must send a sincere, heartfelt thank-you out to Robert Mercer. Although the thousand pictures brought to life through his gift of storytelling is certainly an amazing feat, his ability to open the treasure chest of thousands of emotions I experienced during my 12 years at the school is absolutely incredible. Recalling the sad and happy tears, chuckles, rolling belly laughter, failures that nurtured and led to successes, and thoughts causing me to ask myself, “How did I get through that? How did I get away with that?” was fabulous.

If all that excitement wasn’t enough, after reading Robert’s Mrs. Beaton’s Question,  Ryan  Delehanty from Accessible Media Inc. was inspired to pitch the idea to develop the show, Tales From the Halifax School for the Blind. This new AMI-audio original podcast has been embraced and enjoyed by scores of former students and other podcast followers.   —Terry Kelly

Tales from the Halifax School for the Blind Podcast, inspired by the book Mrs. Beaton’s Question, this monthly podcast shares the experiences of students who attended the Halifax School for the Blind. Hosted by renowned  entertainer  and school alumnus Terry Kelly, Tales from the Halifax School for the Blind  brings to life first-hand accounts from fellow students who tell stories of youthful mischief, school culture, inspiring teachers, and the lives they’ve enjoyed since graduation.

“For 112 years, the Halifax School for the Blind was home to thousands of children from Atlantic Canada and beyond,” says Ryan Delehanty, AMI Content Development Specialist and podcast creator and producer. “Tales from the Halifax School for the Blind” paints a vivid picture of what day-to-day life was like inside this one-of-a-kind institution, and how it provided generations of blind and partially-sighted youth with the skills and education necessary to live full, productive and independent lives.”

Podcast episodes can be accessed HERE.

Robert Mercer was born visually impaired and for nine years, he attended the School for the Blind in Halifax. Upon graduation and a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Mary’s University, he joined the staff of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). At the age of thirty, he was appointed National President and CEO of the Institute, responsible for the work of three thousand staff and a hundred thousand volunteers, coast to coast. In a second career, Robert worked for 25 years in the Federal public service, retiring as Assistant Deputy Minister at Veterans Affairs Canada in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he now enjoys writing books, mostly fiction for children and adults, and is still very much young at heart.

Terry Kelly’s enthusiasm for life and sheer determination have gained him international recognition as an accomplished athlete; an award-winning singer, songwriter, and entertainer; a professional speaker; and a lover of life.

As a musician, this Newfoundland native has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with symphony orchestras, and has performed his original music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and for the troops in Afghanistan. He is most recognized for his inspirational song, “A Pittance of Time”.

Terry is a recipient of the King Clancy Award and Hal Rogers Fellow Award, as well as Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts from the University of King’s College and Saint Mary’s University, respectively. He has received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award, is proud to serve as Honorary Colonel of 14 Wing Greenwood, and has been appointed to the Order of Canada.

In the athletic field, Terry has distinguished himself as the third blind person in the world to run a sub five-minute mile. (