Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Helen Keller: A Determined Life

Helen Keller: A Determined Life

Elizabeth MacLeod
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2004   ISBN: 978-1553375098

Helen was a very frustrated and angry girl. Unable to hear or see because of an illness she got when she was just a toddler, Helen felt cut off from the world and often unable to explain to her family what it was that she wanted. Thankfully her parents were the kind of people who were not willing to give up. They refused to institutionalize their unruly and sometimes violent girl. Instead they went to a great deal of trouble to find a special teacher for her. On the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, who knew a great deal about the problems of the deaf, they finally found someone who was just as stubborn and determined as Helen was.

Annie Sullivan was a young woman who had faced a great deal of hardship in her young life. Now she was hired by Helen?s father to teach the little girl. It was a battle but at last, one day, Helen finally was able to understand what Annie was trying to do. Annie spelled the word W-A-T-E-R into Helen?s hand using the one-hand manual alphabet method. At the same time she pumped water over Helen?s hand. Helen made the connection and after that the hard part was trying to slow the girl down. She wanted to know more and more, she wanted to learn to read and write, she wanted to do so many things and with Annie?s help she managed them all. Indeed she managed to do more than anyone thought was possible and, in her own quiet way, she made the world a better place.

The incredible story about Helen Keller and how she and her teacher were able to bring Helen out into the world is touching, inspiring, and unforgettable. In this exceptional book Elizabeth MacLeod tells Helen?s life story with great compassion. She packs the book with all kinds of information about Helen, her life, and her world. With plenty of annotated photographs and illustrations, this is an engaging book which helps readers see that Helen inspired all kinds of people through her courage, her determination, and her kind heart.