Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
Imagine living in total silence and darkness. That's what Helen Keller's world was like after a childhood illness left her deaf and blind. Unable to express herself, she threw tantrums that earned her the nickname “Little Bronco.” But Helen's teacher Annie Sullivan found the key to communicating with her. Only then was the little girl able to experience fully the world around her. Helen went on to become the first deaf and blind college graduate in the United States and worked all her life helping to educate others about people with disabilities.
Using photographs, quotes, letters and drawings, this biography in the Snapshots: Images of People and Places in History series introduces young readers to Helen Keller. Also included are a timeline of her life and a list of places to visit to learn more about this inspirational woman.
About the author
Liz is one nosy author, which is why she loves writing non-fiction. She’s very curious about why people do what they do, and likes sharing with kids the amazing facts and secrets that she uncovers.As a kid in Thornhill, Ontario, the idea of being a writer never crossed Liz’s mind—she figured most authors were already dead and they definitely weren’t Canadian. Besides, it was science that interested Liz.But writing was already part of Liz’s life. After dinner on school nights, Liz and her two brothers would trudge up to their rooms, close their doors and start to do their homework—or so their parents thought. A few minutes later, a piece of paper would come sliding under Liz’s door. One of her brothers had drawn a picture, usually of some weird creature.Liz really couldn’t draw (still can’t!), so the only way she could respond was to write a short story, often about a mad scientist or space alien. She would slip the story under her brother’s door and—well, not a lot of homework got done.At university, Liz studied sciences—there was hardly any writing involved at all. But after university, she was hired as an editor at OWL magazine, where she could combine writing and her love of science. But it wasn’t long before Liz had a goal: to write a book. Her first one was about lions and since then she’s written more than fifty others.Royal Murder: The Deadly Intrigue of Ten Sovereigns (2008) is one of her favourite books because royalty has always fascinated Liz. She loved going behind the scenes with monarchs from Cleopatra to Dracula to find out just what they would do to hold onto power or protect their families.Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries (2013) was the winner of numerous awards, including the Crime Writers of Canada 2014 Arthur Ellis Award in the Juvenile/YA category. Liz’s latest book with Annick Press, Galloping Through History: Incredible True Horse Stories (Spring 2015), combines, once again, her outstanding storytelling skills with her passion for history. This time her love of animals also shines through as she recounts the stories of six horses that changed the way humans live, travel, fight, work, and play.Liz lives in Toronto with her husband, Paul, and their cat Cosimo. While she writes, he is usually sprawled across her desk—often right on the book she needs for research!
- Winner, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
- Runner-up, Information Book Award, Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada
- Runner-up, International Book Award, The Society of School Librarians International
- Winner, YA Top Forty Nonfiction, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association
- Runner-up, Book of the Year Award, ForeWord Magazine
An engaging and often poignant text, Helen Keller: A Determined Life will be enjoyed for both research and pleasure reading.
Quill & Quire
Tells Keller's story in a readable, sometimes fictionalized narrative ... includes many well-known facts about Keller's life as well as a few less-familiar details. Suited to reluctant readers.
School Library Journal
Helen Keller (Kids Can Press 3)Braille and sign language opened the world and its opportunities to Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind. She accomplished multiple feats including touring as a lecturer and becoming the first deaf-blind person in the U.S. to finish college. Detailed illustrations grace nearly every page of this simply written biography.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.