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Annie and Helen Hardcover – September 11, 2012
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“...What is breathtakingly shown here, through accurate, cross-hatched watercolor paintings; excerpts from Sullivan’s correspondence to her former teacher; and concise and poetic language, is the woman’s patience and belief in the intelligence of her student to grasp the concepts of language....elucidating the brilliant process of educating the deaf and blind pioneered by Annie Sullivan.”
About the Author
More About the Author
She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text twice, for A Band of Angels and Apples to Oregon. Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awardee. She lives near Portland, Oregon.
The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel won the OCTE Oregon Spirit Award and was named a Best Book of 2013 by School Library Journal and an Oregon Book Award finalist.
Deborah's forthcoming books in 2015-16 include: nonfiction about WWII entitled Courage & Defiance; Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig, illustrated by Charlotte Voake; a middle grade novel called A Bandit's Tale, The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket; a picture book about sea turtles called Follow the Moon Home (with Philippe Cousteau), and a historical fiction picture book entitled Steamboat School, illustrated by Ron Husband.
Visit her on the web at www.deborahhopkinson.com and follow her on Twitter at @deborahopkinson.
Top Customer Reviews
Hopkins intersperses her narrative, which begins on the day when Annie Sullivan came into Helen Keller's life, with excerpts from Annie's own letters to her friend and former teacher, Sophia Hopkins. We see Helen throwing a violent tantrum, her dog running away from her: "Helen was like a small, wild bird, throwing herself against the bars of a dark and silent cage." But Annie, who fought her own battle against blindness, understood that Helen needed discipline, and "prepared for battle." She and Helen moved into a small house on the family's property, and Annie helped Helen accept rules and teaching. But how could she teach her language? Hopkinson explains the manual finger alphabet used by Annie, and provides drawings of the hand positions for each letter in the text as well as explaining how Annie tried to teach Helen the names of familiar objects. When Helen finally grasps the concept of words at the water pump, as cool water splashed on her hand, the world of language quickly opened up to her. Sullivan writes about Helen on April 5, 1887: "A new light came into her face."
Hopkinson shows us Helen as a very bright child, giving many examples of how she put together words. We even see Helen running and jumping with joy on their walks. Annie also taught Helen to read using Braille and how to write using a special braille typewriter. The book concludes with a letter written to her mother on a short trip with her father.Read more ›
This book looks mostly at the early relationship between Annie and Helen and cuts off by the time Helen goes to Radcliffe. Nothing about her political activism and radical socialism. That's fine.
Great illustrations throughout do more to convey the power of the story than the text. The text is ok, written unnecessarily but unobtrusively in free verse.
Really good picture biography; includes actual photographs and a copy of the first letter Helen wrote to her mother. The back cover has a raised braille alphabet.
This book explains it all, in a way that acknowledges the enormity of the task but makes the process understandable. Helen is a real, frustrated, tantrum-throwing girl. And Annie is a real person, patient, firm, and determined. Their story is amazing and inspiring.
And the writing is pretty amazing, too.
About Helen, before she could communicate with words: "Helen was like a small, wild bird, throwing herself against the bars of a dark and silent cage."
About Annie's determination: "Annie spelled into Helen's palm all day long. Like someone on a windy peak trying to kindle a fire for warmth, Annie kept hoping for a spark to catch."
And structuring the book around Annie's letter to her own former teacher makes the ending, the text of Helen's very first written letter, the perfect ending, at once an end and a beginning.
This is a lovely book, start to finish.
Review copy from my library.
There is a great deal of information here but also a good many pictures to keep young children interested and engaged.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My daughter has enjoyed reading this book several times and in intrigued with the concept of braille... quite the eye opener!Published 9 months ago by TWright
This was a beautifully written and illustrated picture book describing Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan’s first few years together. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Shelli
Read this book to a group of first through fifth graders. They loved it-for some it built on the information they already knew about Annie and Helen-for others it gave them a good... Read morePublished on June 1, 2013 by marsha wright
My 8 year old nephew was very intriqued by Helen's story. He asked question after question about her life. I hope to find more like this.Published on March 8, 2013 by Sandeeg