Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Helen Keller: The World in Her Heart

Helen Keller: The World in Her Heart

Lise Cline-Ransome
Illustrator:   James Ransome 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
HarperCollins, 2008   ISBN: 0060570741

It is a summer’s day, and Helen is eagerly waiting to taste the cake that has been baking in the oven. From the feel of her mother’s skirt and the vibrations of shoes, Helen knows that something is going on. She cannot ask her parents what is happening because she is blind and deaf. She is cut off from the world, and often she gets so frustrated and lonely that she loses her temper. Helen’s parents have decided that Helen needs help, and they have asked a tutor to come to teach their unhappy child.

Helen does not know who this stranger is, and she does not like her. Then, one day, the stranger gets through to Helen. She teacher her the sign for water. In time Helen comes to understand who the stranger is; she is a teacher. With her teacher by her side, Helen’s world opens up in the most wondrous ways.

In this memorable and moving picture book, Lesa Cline-Ransome tells her story by alternating between Helen’s observations of the world around her, and a narrative which describes what happened to her. The author beautifully portrays what it would have been like to be Helen, capturing what she could sense about the world around her. Readers will come to appreciate how momentous it was for Helen to have someone in her life who was able to communicate with her.