“Look at me. Hear my words. I may not be able to see, but I have vision. I may not be able to hear, but I have a voice” (quote taken from I am Helen Keller)
I am Helen Keller by Brad Meltzer should be a permanent book in any parent’s library. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by Helen Keller and the obstacles that she overcame in her lifetime. As a young child, I wanted to work with individuals with special needs, so Helen Keller was of particular interest to me because of her significant disabilities and how they never let them define her. I am Helen Keller is the story of Helen’s journey from childhood to adulthood. The author presents background information about Helen Keller in a way that is not only fascinating to a child but also interesting to an adult. As a young child, Helen was born typical. At nineteen months, she got very sick which caused her to become deaf and blind. The book describes how Helen learned the relationship between spelling and communication and how she learned to talk and communicate with all of those communication partners around her. With her family and Ann Sullivan’s love and support, Helen grew up to be a confident and intelligent woman.
I am Helen Keller can be an excellent book to read during mealtime. It can also be read several times since there are many facts and lessons to learn from the book. As you are reading the book, ask questions and encourage your child to comment. The book includes examples of Braille so you can show your child what the Braille looks and feels like. Have your child close their eyes and ask them “What do you see?” “How do you think Helen felt when she lost her hearing and sight?” Take turns spelling words into your child’s hand with their eyes closed and see if he or she can tell what word you are spelling. They will realize then how challenging this activity can be! Discuss the achievements of Helen Keller and how she overcame them despite her disabilities.
This is an inspirational book that children can learn not only history, but a valuable lesson about life’s obstacles and the determination behind it.
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