Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller
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Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  407 ratings  ·  122 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Disney-Hyperion
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Mike Mullin
Superior to almost all the longer children's biographies of Keller in that it doesn't shy away from her later life as a social activist. It never ceases to amaze how a superb writer like Rappaport can convey more of the reality of a story in 48 pages than a mediocre writer can in hundreds. The text is also enriched by dozens of quotes--giving readers a sense of Keller's own voice. Highly recommended.
A big, gorgeous, inspirational picture book about Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. Like Martin's Big Words, the format includes inspirational quotes and key moments in Keller's life. A lovely introduction that will leave young readers wanting to learn more.
Ruth Lehrer
Obviously this author amd artist have not had a lot of experience with deaf-blind people. I took a quick read of this in the bookstore and found many glaring errors and misrepresentations of these people and their language. To start with, the cover has "Braille" which is tactile but not actually useable to a blind person. The spacing is so large and the dots so small, the product is all but unreadable. It is, as my blind friend used to call it, Braille for the sighted.
I do not see any acknowled...more
Rebecca Wenzler
Excelling without Seeing

In Helen’s Big World, writer Doreen Rappaport shares an inspirational story about the life of Helen Keller and the obstacles she overcomes with her blindness. As Rappaport describes Helen’s determination and perseverance to reach her goals in life, despite her physical disabilities, life lessons of never giving up are revealed throughout the story.

The story begins with Helen’s life as a baby. When she was very young she became very ill. Her illness left her blind, deaf...more
The book Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller is a biography that students should read. While this biography talks about the way Helen Keller lived her life, it is also an important representation for students to show that anyone can use their mind to get out of a tough situation whether it is a disability or not. As soon as Helen learned to use her mind and to make connections between an object and the word that went with it, she know longer had a disability, she wanted to learn all that...more
Mallory Clawson
Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen is written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares. It tells the story of Helen Keller through beautifully illustrated pictures. The biography starts with when Helen was born and follows her until her death. Each page includes a quote from Helen Keller. This picture book tells of Helen’s struggles growing up blind and deaf. It also tells of how she overcame these hardships and lived a successful life.

I loved this book! It was engaging, yet informa...more
Words and text blend well to show Helen's ever-expanding world and accomplishments. The occasional use of Helen's words is a nice touch, but it's Tavares' dramatic paintings that bring the book alive--otherwise it's just another bio of Keller. Endpaper of finger spelling and visual representation of the title in Braille are useful (too bad it's not actually in Braille instead of painted); informative back matter.
Alexandria Stephens
Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller is a picture book about the extraordinary life of Helen Keller. The book illustrates the birth and death of Helen Keller, and many of the obstacles she faced while alive. The book is written in a unique way. The book is primarily illustrations with quotes directly from Helen Keller herself. The details in the illustrations are incredible and format of the book can serve as an informational text. The timeline in the book, which organizes important event...more
I read this as an advanced copy. The cover has braille on it, which I think is wonderful. The illustrations are marvelous and the story also contains quotes from Keller. Goes beyond the books I was able to read about her as a kid. Includes history time line as well.
Mrs. Knott
I was such a Helen Keller fan as a child. I read many books about her life and wrote many reports. It's amazing how this picture book added more details to my knowledge! This is a well-written picture book that will appeal to young readers. The illustrations captured the emotions of this book. I like how the author added quotes from Helen into each page. The back of the book has additional sources, authors and illustrators notes, and a timeline. I like how the end pages have a sign language char...more
This book was very inspiring. One of my favorite things about it is that the author combined her own words with the words of Helen Keller. Helen's quotes made her story come to life. The artwork in the book is beautiful. It is very well executed and captures the emotion of her story perfectly on each page. How lucky are we that we can see the beautiful artwork! Helen Keller's story is one that everyone should hear. This book makes you appreciate what you have and gives you a greater desire to fi...more
A beautifully done story about Helen Keller! The first half of the book is the story that many of us and our students are familiar with -- Helen Keller lost her ability to see and hear as a toddler and Annie Sullivan became her teacher, helping her learn to communicate, read, and understand her world. The rest of the story addresses Helen's adult life. She became a prolific reader, attended college, and learned to speak and present her ideas. A few facts are glossed over or omitted entirely -- H...more
This picture book biography of Helen Keller celebrates both the accomplishments of Helen Keller in overcoming her world of darkness and silence and those of her teacher Annie Sullivan. The book begins with Helen as a small baby, before she had an unknown illness at 19 months that took her sight and hearing away. It then moves through her attempts to continue to communicate, the frustration that caused her tantrums, and the slow progression of learning that led to the seminal moment at the water...more
Many of those of us who are teachers have been fascinated with the relationship between teacher Annie Sullivan and her student Helen Keller. This picture book biography describes that relationship in somewhat nostalgic fashion, touching on Helen's early life, her loss of the ability to see, hear or speak and how things changed once Teacher came into her life. Much of the territory has been covered before in other biographies, but this one focuses on how fingerspelling and Braille expanded Helen'...more
Beth Maline
Helen Keller's story is timeless, and this is a book that makes an old story new again. The art in this book follows the story line, so in the beginning the pictures are dark and sad, but as Helen begins to find her voice through her teacher, the pictures lighten up and the story begins to shine as well.

Interspersed with the actual story of Ms. Keller are famous quotes that are inspirational, and this book is fabulous to show how someone with a disability (found during a time when 'disability' w...more
I remember reading the story of Helen Keller when I was a kid and being completely caught up in it--I tried to learn Braille and I taught myself finger spelling.... fast forward to now. I read this lovely picture book biography to my children today and my daughter was writing Braille the rest of the day (ok, I realize it's not real Braille since it's not raised and all, but still...).

This is a wonderful introduction to Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan. The front endpapers show the pi...more
There is so much to like about this book: the title of book written in braille on the cover, Helen's own words featured on every page, the manual language chart on the end pages, the author/illustrator notes, the list of important dates, the well-written story or the illustrations that accurately portray the action and emotions of the story. This is the perfect picture book biography about Helen Keller to share with young readers.
Patricia Tilton
The title says it all “Helen’s Big World,”which is rich, full of life and not limited in any way. This is an excellent introduction for young readers to learn about this most remarkable woman. Doreen Rappaport beautifully captures the essence of this very inspirational child and woman, Helen Keller. It is written in prose with quotes from Helen woven into the story on every page. The book not only chronicles the story of Helen’s challenging and courageous life, but shows children how one can mo...more
I like this book because it tells so much about Helen Keller and it would keep the interest of students as well. This book is better to have children read rather than a novel about Helen Keller (depending on age). I would love to see my students read this book because it has a lot of interesting information and because Helen Keller has a great powerful story learning what she did.
Misty Kincade
Literary Awards:N/A
Book Level: 4.9
Interest Level:LG (K-3)

Brief Summary:
In this picture book biography, Doreen Rappaport brings Helen Keller’s personal narrative to life. Rappaport begins this inspirational story with Helen’s life as a child. Readers learn that Helen acquired an illness that left her blind, deaf, and unable to speak. Helen faces challenging obstacles due to her disabilities but learns to cope with these complications when she meets Annie Sullivan. Beautifully illustrated with wri...more
This book is does a great job of telling about Helen Keller's Life both in a narrative as well as drawing from direct quotes from Helen. I think it could work through sixth because it really does cover a lot of information about her life as well as some of the social activism that she took part in. Her story is also great to show diversity and overcoming the odds.
Tara O'malley
This was my second Doreen Rappaport’s picturebook biography and I really enjoyed reading “Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen”. Helen Keller’s story always impresses me every time I read it. I almost wish there was a little more information in the story just because her story really interests me. Yet there was still enough information to get the basic outline of her life from the time she was born all the way up till she died. I enjoyed the illustrations in this book as well. They helped illust...more
Christine Turner


Keller, Helen, 1880-1968 -- Juvenile literature.

Sullivan, Annie, 1866-1936 -- Juvenile literature.

Deafblind women -- United States -- Biography -- Juvenile literature

Deafblind people -- United States -- Biography -- Juvenile literature.

Picture books for children
This is an amazing book about the life of Helen Keller. The illustrations are large and beautiful and the text easy to read and understand. Each page has actual quotes from Helen which go along with what is being written about. This would be a wonderful book to share with elementary students.
There are many books written about the life of these inspiring women, Helen and Annie, but perhaps this one is a good introduction to their story for younger children. It includes all the parts one knows well, the beginnings, the sickness, and the challenging young Helen, until Annie Sullivan show up. The book traces the story all the way to the ends of both lives, emphasizing Helen’s love of learning and Annie’s dedication to helping her learn all she can. There are several points of discussio...more
Pat Salvatini
A beautifully illustrated picture book that gives a very brief and shallow look into a complex lady. The personal quotes are a lovely touch and the Sign Language chart on the end papers will pique interest. Otherwise it is the detailed watercolor illustrations that carry the story.
Beautiful picture book that felt fresh in the midst of numerous materials on this famous women. Quotes throughout the book add depth and opportunity to talk about types of writing/information and give a personal glimpse into Helen Keller's mind. I need to read her autobiography! Challenge students to think about life from someone else's perspective as well as help them think about their own struggles and how those can become strengths.

A reviewer below notes inaccuracies and issues with the port...more
Julie Williams
This book takes a look at Helen Keller’s life from birth to death. It is interspersed with quotes from Helen Keller which provide insight into the woman she became. The book does not dwell on her disabilities but highlights what she was able to do and accomplish in her life. The illustrations capture the famous and not so famous moments in her life. Readers will come away wanting to know more.

I have always enjoyed reading about Helen Keller and this picture book is beautiful. It doesn’t spend a...more
Kayla Skeans
I personally love hearing about Helen Keller's life and how she learned to read by having a teacher come in and teacher by hand signals.Helen had a difficult life when she was younger and not being able to communicate with your parents at such a young age is hard.
This is a wonderful picture book biography of Helen Keller. I loved that actual quotes from Helen Keller are used as part of the text. Each quote has to do with what is described in the story on that page. I also appreciated that the book tells the story of her whole life. It shows the college and vaudeville years, as well as the years that she spent traveling and speaking out for the rights of others. So many biographies of Helen Keller for kids stop either after she learns to finger spell or w...more
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Doreen Rappaport has written many books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, specializing in thoroughly researched multicultural history, historical fiction, retellings of folktales and myths, and stories of those she calls the "not-yet-celebrated." Among her recent books is MARTIN'S BIG WORDS: THE LIFE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received a Caldecot...more
More about Doreen Rappaport...
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin LutherKing Jr. Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust Eleanor, Quiet No More To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt

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