A heartwarming portrait of an unforgettable woman by the critically-acclaimed author of Abe's Honest Words and Martin's Big Words.

This picturebook biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential luminaries. With her signature style of prose laced with stirring quotes, Doreen Rappaport brings to life Helen Keller’s poignant narrative. Acclaimed illustrator Matt Tavares beautifully captures the dynamism and verve of Helen Keller’s life and legacy, making Helen's Big World an unforgettable portrait of a woman whose vision for innovation and progress changed America—and the world—forever.

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Reader Reviews

Praise

“Helen’s Big World covers the whole span of Helen’s life from birth through her many years with Annie and after. Rappaport characteristically uses quotes to extend and heighten the emotion. A timeline at the end helps put important dates in perspective. Though this book focuses more on Helen than on Annie, readers get a more acute awareness of how much Annie sacrificed for Helen, Tavares’ illustrations are, per the title, big and bold and often in intense close-up. Stirring and awe-inspiring.”—The Horn Book
“While there are many books available about Helen Keller for this age group, this title offers a unique and beautiful perspective on her life.” —School Library Journal
“Children, who so often feel misunderstood, are by nature drawn to the story of Helen Keller. This magnificent account immerses young readers in the dark lows and subsequent highs of Keller’s story. Rappaport’s text, interspersed with quotations from Keller, is perfectly attuned to the mind of a child. Tavares’s paintings are steeped in emotion, especially in their depiction of young Helen’s anguish and frustration. No child could read this book without imagining herself, as Helen put it, “in the still, dark world in which I lived.” But it makes Helen’s path to self-expression all the more resonant and inspiring.”—The New York Times
“One of Helen Keller’s greatest achievements was learning to speak. Rappaport pays tribute to that accomplishment by incorporating Keller’s own words into her prose in the signature style seen in all the author’s children’s biographies, from John Lennon to Martin Luther King, Jr. But the move especially complements this book, where words have such significance. Keller’s story wasn’t just about learning to speak; it was about putting her words to use. There’s no better way to capture that aspiration than seeing the woman herself on the page.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A magisterial account.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Appearing beside broad, horizontal illustrations, Rappaport’s narrative is spaced out in poetic form.  [The] sometimes dramatic illustrations show just how big Helen’s world could be, picturing her in a college classroom, in a tree, on a stage, and in a factory with child laborers. The back endpapers illustrate the alphabet of hand signs that Sullivan taught Keller. Readers intrigued by the Braille alphabet can feel the raised red dots on the jacket, which spell out the book’s title. A worthwhile addition to biography shelves.” —Booklist
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