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Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher (Photobiographies) Hardcover – February 12, 2008


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Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher (Photobiographies) + Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Series: Photobiographies
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426302096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426302091
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 4–7—"I know that the education of this child will be the distinguishing event of my life, if I have the brains and perseverance to accomplish it," wrote Annie Sullivan. Her words proved so prophetic that few know the story of this remarkable woman outside of her role as Keller's teacher. The daughter of poor Irish immigrants, she struggled with vision loss for most of her life. After her mother's death, her abusive father abandoned the eight-year-old and her brother, and the two were sent to the poorhouse. At age 14, she finally entered school, with no worldly possessions, no education, and no manners. And yet she graduated six years later as valedictorian of her class and would go on to win acclaim as one of history's greatest educators. Illustrated with period photographs and a pleasing graphic style, Delano's text makes extensive use of meticulously cited quotes from primary sources to convey not only the facts of Sullivan's life, but the everyday realities and emotions as well. The book emphasizes that the woman was a great teacher not in spite of her own struggles, but because they gave her a unique empathy for her student and a determination to never give up.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
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From Booklist

There are many biographies of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, but this one is very nicely done. The book begins by chronicling Sullivan’s sad early life, abandoned by her family to a depressing poorhouse. Sullivan was visually impaired, and her plea for learning led to a place at the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Eventually, she is sent to Alabama to become Helen Keller’s teacher. One of the most famous moments of Helen’s life, her connection between the word and the water from the pump, is not highlighted; instead it’s presented as part of the many incredible moments comprising the mosiac of Keller’s life. The book is honest in its portrayals, especially of Sullivan, who could be quick to take offense, particularly when her role as Keller’s teacher was downplayed. What makes this oversize book so appealing is the clean design, with a large typeface. The many fascinating photographs are sometimes placed over historical documents. A chronology and a list of resources, including Web sites, take up a whole page; quotations are sourced. Make room for this. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The love between Helen Keller and her T-E-A-C-H-E-R, Annie Sullivan, was one that would transcend the bounds of the usual student/teacher relationship and last a lifetime. In this stunning photobiography, the caption, in the words of Annie Sullivan, beneath the one of the first photographs (the one depicted on the U.S. postage stamp), says it all:

"I know that the education of this child will be the distinguishing event of my life, if I have the brains and perseverance to accomplish it."

Annie Sullivan's own struggles with blindness when she was a mere five years old. The serious diagnosis of contagious trachoma would plague her throughout her lifetime, causing her much pain and distress. Her struggles continued when her mother later died and her father simply up and left the family. With the death of her beloved brother Jimmie, Annie claimed that she "longed desperately to die" and that she believed that "very few children and even been so completely left alone and I was." She may have been alone, but she was strong and resilient, so much so that she would not only pull herself out of the depths of despair and darkness, but also her most famous student, Helen Keller.

If the reader has read Helen Keller's, Story of My Life, much of the text will seem familiar, but for most the sweeping gallery of photographs of Annie and Helen will surprise and thrill the senses. In the back of the book there is a chronology and lists of additional resources, including many interesting web sites. For the curious, the braille on the frontispiece is in second grade braille (not embossed) and says "HELEN'S EYES A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan Helen Keller's Teacher by Marfé Ferguson Delano" It is repeated three times. This gorgeous book is one everyone one will want in their personal library to be read time and time again! I loved it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Miller on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I don't know what's caused the mini-flood of Annie Sullivan & Helen Keller books lately, but I sure am enjoying it!

To my knowledge, this is by far the best Annie Sullivan children's biography on the market. The design is impeccable, with big, crisp photos, often overlaid with quotations or layered with maps and other relevant backgrounds. Braille on the title page and photographs of Helen's own hands modeling the manual alphabet on the cover boards were especially nice touches. Unfortunately for me, only one of the photos was new to my eyes. But barring unexpected finds in obscure New England attics, I suppose trying to find a fresh Sullivan/Keller photo for me at this point is a little bit like giving Julia Child a new recipe, so I can't really fault the book on that score.

The text is strong, straightforward, and accurate, though I personally prefer a bit more emotional zing in a biography. What can I say -- I'm a tough audience. That said, I found myself constantly nodding in agreement at the familiar details of Annie's life, and even picked up a few new tidbits along the way. Highly recommended.
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By s. randall on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very detailed and full of quotes and real pictures. My students were engrossed in it for their biography project. Great source!
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By Arbyrd Lady on December 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this for our school library. This story is well-known, but this book did a good job of giving it a new look.
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By Mom with Ph.D. on March 9, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best books on Hellen Keller. Recommended as non-fiction by a teacher.
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More About the Author

Marfé Ferguson Delano lives within biking distance of George Washington's Mount Vernon and has long been curious about her famous historic neighbor. Her curiosity led to a four-year research project and the discovery of a whole host of less-famous historic neighbors--the enslaved people who lived with George and Martha on their plantation farm and now so richly populate the beautifully written pages of Master George's People. Her previous books for National Geographic include Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher and Earth in the Hot Seat: Bulletins from a Warming World. Visit her web site at www.marfebooks.com.

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