Friday, April 12, 2013
14th April Annie Sullivan (1866 - 1936)
Annie Sullivan is best known as the teacher of the blind girl Helen Keller. In fact books written about her, often refer to her as 'The Miracle Worker'. She had her own challenges in life too, including loosing her sight which was later restored as the result of operations, but after studying for herself she became the very persistent, but patient talented teacher and confidante of Helen. There have always been 'readers' about Anne and Helen, but recently two beautiful picture books have done much more justice to their lives, their successes and struggles. The first, Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Travares provides a very accessible introduction for young readers to learn about these two women whose lives have become inspirational to others. The second, Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colon also provides an insight into their relationship, but also includes excerpts from letters written by Annie about her work with Helen and therefore seems to highlight Annie's achievements more. Biographies such as these add status to the topic when compared to 'readers' that pare the facts down to a minimum and control the vocabulary to fit a certain level. For older children in primary school there is also an impressive photobiography from National Geographic book, Helen's Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller's Teacher by Marfe Ferguson Delano.