Thursday, May 19, 2022

SO MUCH MORE TO HELEN! The Passion and Pursuits of Helen Keller: A Picture Book Biography and Giveaway

 What do you know about Helen Keller?

Many of us have grown up knowing the story of how Annie Sullivan taught Helen to sign her first word, "water" by the family's water pump. 

But as the title of this new picture book from Sleeping Bear Press indicates, there is much more to know. Written by Meeg Pincus (no stranger to my blog) with lush illustrations by Caroline Bonne-Müller,
this book will appeal to Kindergarten-third grade readers. As you'll see from the illustration samples below, each spread includes basic information written in a rhyming couplet with additional details provided in a text box for older children. 


On the first page, readers discover that Helen was a friend to a young black girl as well as to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

Then we discover that, 

And she was,


                Braille and signing, first through college.

Helen was a dog lover and an author...

            Always writing, never slowing.
            Essays, books, and stories flowing.

Helen was an activist, a jokester, and also, 

Did you know that Helen was a romantic who fell in love with Peter Fagan, a journalist? Her parents wouldn't allow her to marry him since many people at the time didn't think DeafBlind people should marry or have children. 

Indeed, Helen was a survivor. 

            Discrimination, heartbreak, grieving.
            Never gave up, kept believing. 

She traveled to five of the seven continents as a humanitarian and peacemaker.  After the World Wars, she visited wounded soldiers and damaged cities to help foster goodwill and healing. She gave speeches in packed amphitheaters and met with world leaders as well as everyday struggling people.

Helen was a changemaker.

Fought for those with deafness, blindness.
Laws, employment, schools--and kindness.

The last spread shows thirteen individuals with either visible or invisible disabilities. 


The last two pages include more details and quotes about each "job" that Helen had. There is also a smaller version of the last spread identifying the thirteen "solutionaries" (someone who tries to solve problems for people, animals, and the planet) and what their disabilities and accomplishments are.

Meeg includes her interest in Helen Keller which stemmed from a high school project. She ends with, "I hope this book inspires you-- whatever disabilities or challenges you may face--to follow our passions and be a solutionary too."

This is an excellent curriculum resource, but I wish a bibliography was included for students and teachers who wanted to read more about this DeafBlind heroine. Click here for Meeg's Free Teaching Tools.

For more of the author's backstory, please see Kathy Temean's blog (and another giveaway!). 

And check out this book trailer:


Leave me a comment (with your last name and email address if you are new to my blog) by May 23 to enter the giveaway. U.S. addresses only. 

Congratulations to Terri Michels who won Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs.


Danielle H. said...

From reading your post about this book, I learned so much about Helen Keller already. She led a fascinating life and I can't wait to learn more about her by reading this beautiful book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Rita Painter said...

What a wonderful review! This sounds like an amazing book to share with students, and I especially like the illustrations.
Rita Painter

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Rita. I think you're a first-time commenter so I'll put your name in twice! I hope you return for my giveaways!

Carol Baldwin said...

You got it, Danielle!

Rosi said...

This book is getting a lot of buzz, and it sounds like with good reason. Thanks for a great review. I will pass on the giveaway.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Thanks for posting about the book "There's More about Helen." Indeed she was a talented person with lots of gumption and persistence.

Please do not include me in on the drawing.

Enjoy your day!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joan!

Trish said...

Looks like a wonderful book full of new to me facts and beautiful artwork about Helen Keller. It’s definitely a book I would enjoy sharing with my grands.

Marci said...

Wow, what a special book! I love this concept that explores her life with a wider lens—thanks for sharing! Great work, Meeg!!

Esther M. Bandy said...

Helen Keller was an amazing lady, and this sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Trish, Marci, and Esther. Your names are on the list!

Annette Whipple said...

This book just recently popped up on my radar and is on my wishlist. I think Helen is amazing...but like this book shares for more reasons than what most of us know her for.

Can't wait to see it in person!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Annette, for stopping by. YOur name is on the list!

Emily Weitz said...

This looks like a fantastic book! Would love a chance to win this for my students.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Emily. You're in!

Jilanne Hoffmann said...

I love how Meeg offers so many additional facets to the one-sided perspective we've all learned about Keller. We all contain multitudes. Great book!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Jilanne! Glad you stopped by!

Wendy said...

Checked out the blog and that does look like a lovely book! W.Davis

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad you found this book interesting Wendy!

Meeg Pincus said...

Thank you so much for reviewing this new book, Carol, and I'm glad to see all the fellow Helen Keller fans among commenters! This book has been a labor of love from the whole team. FYI, the full bibliography is available in the Teacher's Guide, which you linked to above on my Teaching Tools page (and the book's page here: Many thanks to all!

Gail Cartee said...

We all probably know a little bit about Helen Keller from movies and books but this book seems to be so much more. Thanks for introducing us to this informative picture book.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Gail. Unfortunately, I already picked a winner. Try getting it from the library for your grandkids!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Meeg. I'm glad you stopped by and "met" other Helen Keller fans!

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