Synopses & Reviews
"What is breathtakingly shown here, through accurate, cross-hatched watercolor paintings; excerpts from Sullivan’s correspondence to her former teacher; and concise and poetic language, is the woman’s patience and belief in the intelligence of her student to grasp the concepts of language," praised School Library Journal
in a starred review.
Author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Raul Colón present the story of Helen Keller in a fresh and original way that is perfect for young children. Focusing on the relationship between Helen and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, the book is interspersed with excerpts of Annie's letters home, written as she struggled with her angry, wild pupil. But slowly, with devotion and determination, Annie teaches Helen finger spelling and braille, letters, and sentences. As Helen comes to understand language and starts to communicate, she connects for the first time with her family and the world around her. The lyrical text and exquisite art will make this fascinating story a favorite with young readers. Children will also enjoy learning the Braille alphabet, which is embossed on the back cover of the jacket.
"Combining short excerpts from Annie Sullivan's letters with lyrical prose, Hopkinson (A Boy Called Dickens) succeeds in making the early years of the relationship between Helen Keller and the woman she called Teacher feel newly remarkable. Hopkinson is especially good at bringing alive for younger audiences the complexity of language acquisition and the ingenuity and indomitable will that drove Sullivan's teaching methods. 'Mothers and fathers don't give babies vocabulary lessons or worry about teaching grammar they just talk,' Hopkinson points out after Helen and Annie have their famous breakthrough at the pump. How do you teach someone who neither sees nor hears the concept of 'very'? How do you explain the workings of a preposition? The book could actually prompt a lively discussion among audiences wading into the thick of language arts. While ColÃ³n's (Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina) crisply inked, sepia-toned watercolors take readers back in time and echo the mood of the archival photos shown on the endpapers, they provide less of a sense of the deep emotional connection between these two extraordinary people. Ages 4 8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator's agent: Morgan Gaynin. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
DEBORAH HOPKINSON is the author, most recently, of A Boy Called Dickens.
She has written numerous other books, including Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building,
an ALA Notable Book and a Boston Globe-Horn Book
Honor Book; Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek,
an ALA Notable Book and a Junior Library Guild Selection; and the ALA Notable Apples to Oregon.
Her many other acclaimed titles include Under the Quilt of Night
and Fannie in the Kitchen.
Visit her at DeborahHopkinson.com
RAUL COLON is the acclaimed illustrator, most recently, of Child of the Civil Rights Movement, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and included on the New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list. His other titles include My Mama Had a Dancing Heart, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; As Good As Anybody, recipient of the Sydney Taylor Book Award; and Dona Flor, winner of the Pura Belpre Award, among others.