Friday, February 22, 2013

PPBF: Annie and Helen



Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Fridays, where we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.


Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: Raul Colón
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Date: 2012

Ages: 7-11

Themes: The Blind, Deaf and blind women, Teaching the blind, Braille, Helen Keller, Perseverance.

Jacket Flap: The remarkable story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan has captured the hearts and imaginations of children-and adults-for more than a century. Now comes a gorgeous picture book, with excerpts from Annie's own letters, that provides the perfect introduction to this brilliant student and her extraordinary teacher. Watch as Annie opens Helen's mind and makes the world their classroom. Here's Helen touching a doll while Annie makes the sign-language hand motions for each letter into Helen's palm: d-o-l-l.

First paragraph: March 6, 1887 My first question was, "Where is Helen?"...I had scarcely put my foot on the steps, when she rushed towards me....She is never still a moment. She is here, there and everywhere. Her hands are in everything; but nothing holds her attention for long. Dear child, her restless spirit gropes in the dark.

Helen was not quite seven when Annie Sullivan came into her life. Annie had journeyed more than a thousand miles by train to begin her first job, teaching little Helen.

Why I like this book: Any book that shares Helen's story is a winner with me. I teared up once more as Deborah describes the first time Helen understands the signed word for "water" which unlocked the world of communication in a memorable way. I also discovered that Helen was still alive when I was in Junior High!

This one has photos on the inside cover of Helen at all stages of development, and two author's notes which fill in some important details about Annie's life. She also includes links to online sources, and a short bibliography of related reading.

Online Activities and Links:


Anne Sullivan Macy: Miracle Worker American Foundation for the Blind. Click here.

Helen Keller's Kids Museum online, here.

Pinterest activities for the blind and visually impaired, here.

I am always amazed that Helen graduated from university, wrote a book, traveled, taught, and shared her life with others, without hearing a word, or seeing a letter on a page!  It puts me to shame...


16 comments:

  1. Wow, that puts me to shame too. What a remarkable girl.

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    1. Yes, we all need to be challenged once in awhile!

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  2. It is amazing all that she accomplished. A picture book about her is a great way to let children know about this great woman.

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  3. We so need to read about remarkable boys and girls, men and women, like this. A great addition to any bookshelf, Jarm.

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  4. Picture books for older kids are a rarity, so it's nice to get this example. Thanks, Jarm!

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    1. Yes, Wendy...most of the ones I am reviewing are just that. For older readers. Glad it interests you!

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  5. Jarm, I love all books on Helen Keller, but had not seen this one. I know a teen with DS, who has found a hero in Helen. She reads everything she can on Helen and I know she hasn't read this one. Will share it with her mother. Although she is 18, she reads PB and chapter books with help. Helen inspires her. She's an inspiration for all of us. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I typically read picture books first to get an overview of a historical event or person. This is no exception! Hope she will enjoy it.

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    1. Yes, Julie, I never tire of hearing their story!

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  7. Helen Keller is my hero! What a remarkable woman. Thanks for sharing this book. I'll have to look for it.

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    1. Obviously, she is one of mine, too. I hope you find the book. Enjoy!

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  8. This book sounds great, Jarm. I really want to read it. I love stories about Helen Keller - so inspiring - but truthfully I have often felt that Annie Sullivan's job was as hard or harder than Helen's. How do you even begin? Great choice! Thanks for adding it to our list!

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  9. I agree, Susanna. Her methods and perseverance has always amazed me. I would have given up and gone home in a week,

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I would love to have you comment...thanks!

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