All summer I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them a new topic to learn about. Most of the time these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn how to be better people or learn empathy from fictional stories too.
So, I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and in the tags. It’s so important to prevent that summer slide with our kids, so I hope you can use these books to keep them reading and learning all summer long. See all the posts, HERE.
SO MUCH MORE TO HELEN!
The Passions and Pursuits of Helen Keller
By: Meeg Pincus
Illustrated by: Caroline Bonne-Müller
Published: April 15, 2022
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Today, 142 years ago, Helen Keller was born. Let’s celebrate Helen Keller’s birthday by learning more about this fascinating woman in history.
In elementary school, I remember doing a project on Helen Keller, and ever since then I have been fascinated by her. Helen Keller is the most famous DeafBlind American in history and most know the story of her teacher writing the word “water” on her hand as an introduction to sign language. Helen Keller was also a friend to Eleanor Roosevelt and many other movers and shakers in history but she was closest to her teacher and mentor Annie Sullivan.
The picture book tells the story of Helen through short sentences in a rhyming scheme. But at the bottom of each two-page spread, there is a paragraph with more details about Helen. The end of the book offers even more detailed information about each page spread. An illustration of other famous people with disabilities is included at the end of Helen’s story sending the message that people with both visible and invisible disabilities have so much to offer.
It is amazing to me and will be to your child to imagine a young girl and a woman who was unable to see or hear yet accomplished so many things, traveled around the world, advocated for others, and even performed on stage. One thing Helen was not able to do was to get married. Even though she found her true love, her parents sent the man away due to their belief that DeafBlind people should not marry or have children.
The illustrations in the story are quite lovely and fill the pages with bright colors and interesting people. I also really liked the font that gave the story a historical feel.
Helen Keller was an amazing woman and lived to the age of 88, dying in 1968. On my recent trip to Washington D.C., I was amazed to find out Hellen Keller and her companion, Annie Sullivan, were interred at the National Cathedral. Many of us face challenges, as did Helen Keller. But she was willing to try to find solutions to the problems that troubled her. Living in a time with zero technology, her ingenuity to rise above her challenges was quite amazing. Her determination, passion, and willingness to try something new should inspire all of us to fight for what we believe in.
Click HERE for a teaching guide to go along with the book.
Meeg Pincus is the award-winning author of nonfiction picture books about “solutionaries” who help people, animals, and the planet—including WINGED WONDERS: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery (2020), MIEP AND THE MOST FAMOUS DIARY: The Woman Who Rescued Anne Frank’s Diary (2019), COUGAR CROSSING: How Hollywood’s Celebrity Cougar Helped Build a Bridge for City Wildlife (2021), OCEAN SOUP: A Recipe for You, Me and a Cleaner Sea (2021), MAKE WAY FOR ANIMALS!: A World of Wildlife Crossings (2022), SO MUCH MORE TO HELEN!: The Passions and Pursuits of Helen Keller (2022), and DOOR BY DOOR: How Sarah McBride Became America’s First Openly Transgender Senator (2023). Her children’s books have won a Golden Kite Nonfiction Honor Award, Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Awards, Kirkus, and School Library Journal starred reviews, and spots on best books and state reading lists.
Meeg is a long-time nonfiction writer/editor (from newspapers to books), educator (from university to elementary classrooms), and diverse books advocate (see her book recs and subscribe to her blog newsletter at www.SolutionaryStories.com). Find Meeg online and subscribe to her author newsletter at www.MeegPincus.com.
Caroline Bonne-Müller was born in France and bred in the Netherlands, where she studied Fashion Design in Amsterdam and worked for 14 years as a fashion designer. She has always been fascinated by picture books ever since she was a child. When she had children she couldn’t stop buying beautifully illustrated picture books. This is when the seed was planted and she wished to illustrate picture books one day! Now she is a published illustrator and lives with her husband, three kids, and four stray cats from Malaysia in Switzerland, looking over a lake and mountains! Check out her website, HERE.