My regular readers know that we here at the House of Hope have a natural fascination with Helen Keller because of our proximity to her birthplace and childhood home. We were at the library named in her honor (!) last week where I saw this brand new title by Doreen Rappaport, so of course I had to bring it home. Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller is a beautiful picture biography that covers the major events of Helen Keller’s life in a way that will be accessible to young elementary students but equally as interesting for older students. As is true of Rappaport’s other Big Words books, her prose is supported by things Helen said–quotes from various sources both by and about Helen. I love this aspect of the book particularly. I also like that we get the full story in this book, instead of just the story of Helen’s early childhood and breakthrough to understanding language. Rappaport also gently points out some of the controversies in Helen’s life–for example, that she starred in a movie (which she didn’t particularly care for) about her own life and that she “performed” for a living (which made some people sad). This particular part of Helen’s life is something I wasn’t even aware of until I read a more lengthy biography of her aloud to my girls a few years ago, so I appreciate the more in-depth information in this short picture biography. The large, portrait-like illustrations by Matt Tavares that accompany the rich text of this picture book make it doubly appealing. I give it a Highly Recommended. (Disney/Hyperion, 2012)
Although this book was published past the cut-off date to be nominated for this year’s Cybils, I’m tagging it so (maybe! maybe!) I’ll remember it for next year’s Cybils. I also wanted to point out that another excellent picture biography of Helen Keller, this one by Deborah Hopkinson, is in the running for this year’s Cybils.
- My review of Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
- Matt Tavares’ website
- Review at Waking Brain Cells
I’m linking up this review at Nonfiction Monday, which is hosted this week by The Flatt Perspective.