Monday, June 5, 2017

She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with Helen Keller's life story. I read everything I could find about her. In all my Helen Keller studies, I never heard about Laura Bridgman. Laura Bridgman became deaf and blind after being sick with Scarlet Fever, an illness that killed her two older sisters when she was only two years old.

In She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer, The Alexanders cover Laura's life with dignity. Laura was a Pioneer because Doctor Samuel Gridley Howe tried a new way to teach her. Laura was born in 1829, and this book shows how important the women's movement was for people like Laura. If one of her teachers got married, they by law could no longer be a teacher, so while Dr. Howe looked for a new teacher, Laura was often alone. She was inquisitive and loved to be with people so this was very hard for her.

The family tree in the front of the books reminds me how grateful I am for modern medicine. Laura's parents had nine children but only five of them survived into adulthood. Antibiotics and immunizations have saved parents from having to bury several children during the same week. Not to mention that often the medical care received was more dangerous then the illness the doctor was treating.

Laura taught Helen Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, to finger spell when she was student at Laura's school. Charles Dickens met and wrote about Laura. Laura was at one time the most famous person in America. Laura could sew, knit, and make lace. Scarlet Fever had stolen her eye sight, her hearing, her sense of taste and smell, but it could not steal her zest for life and her desire for knowledge.

If you have a child who is fascinated with Helen Keller, they will love this picture book sized treasure that comes with a lot of pictures along with the text.

Read to a child today and help them see the power of learning. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

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