Engaging Non-Fiction for the Young Reader

'Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller' by Doreen Rappaport

The story of Helen Keller is truly an amazing and inspiring one, and Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport is a very captivating read about this brilliant woman. The compelling pictures by Matt Tavares also provide great insight into how Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, learned to read and experienced the world.
Helen's Big WorldI knew about her story and I had seen the play The Miracle Worker, but Helen’s Big World is more thorough in explaining the complexity and dedication involved in Keller’s education, especially by her teacher Annie Sullivan. It answers a number of questions that children may be curious to learn about a person who is both deaf and blind. Like:

  • What came first in her learning process?
  • What were her struggles?
  • What was her relationship like with her teacher, Annie Sullivan?

The book definitely sheds more light on the sacrifices Ms. Sullivan made for Helen Keller.
I learned a lot from it, especially about her work and endeavors beyond childhood. At the end of the book, a timeline of key events in Helen Keller’s life is provided as well as other resources for further exploration into her remarkable life. Although this book is appropriate for children ages 7 and older, a person of any age would enjoy it.

-- Carmen Boston, Children’s Librarian