Monday, October 21, 2013

Helen's Big World

This very different look into Helen Keller's world, her truly big world, is breathtaking.  

Reading the illustrator's note explains what Matt Tavares was thinking as he pictured Helen Keller and what she COULD do instead of focusing on what she could not do.  

Like the author, Doreen Rappaport, I am most familiar with Helen Keller through the story of her relationship with Annie Sullivan via The Miracle Worker.  Though there is an epilogue, for me her story ended when she understood that w-a-t-e-r meant water, the substance being poured over her hand from the pump. Rappaport and Tavares open up a whole new world for me of what Helen Keller went on to do in and for the world.  It's also remarkable what she went on to do at such a young age still.  Writing by the time she was eight, reading braille, and even more impressive - reading lips.  More that I did not know about Helen - that she spoke out against war, child labor, in favor of worker's unions, women's right to vote, and equality for black Americans.

Doreen Rappaport weaves together the story of Helen's life and her ability to explore the world along with quotes from her very own writing about her life.  My favorite quote is: 

"I do not like the world as it is; so I am trying to make it a little more as I would like it."

I couldn't agree more!  I was able to see a social activist speak today who focused on the importance of free speech and reading Helen's Big World made me happy that even though Helen may not have had the audible words, she did not let that keep her from speaking her mind, learning more, and standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves.  She is a remarkable figure and this book is a remarkable telling of her story.  

Helen's Big World
ISBN: 978-0-7868-0890-8
Published 2012 by Disney Hyperion Books
I borrowed this copy from my public library to read and review.

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