Many children in my generation came to Helen Keller’s life story by way of the Academy Award-winning movie, “The Miracle Worker.” A new generation may find their way through “Annie and Helen, ” the fine new picture biography by Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colón. It tells the story of a girl, deaf and blind, who enters the wider world, thanks to her own ferocious will and the dedication of her remarkable teacher, Annie Sullivan. “Annie knew how Helen must feel. Ever since Annie was a girl, she’d had a painful eye disease, and she had been partly blind until an operation helped her see.” “Annie and Helen” quotes directly from Annie’s letters about Helen — “During our walks she keeps up a continual spelling, and delights to accompany it with actions such as skipping, hopping, jumping” — and ends with Helen’s first letter home. Colón’s illustrations are gentle and realistic, matching Hopkinson’s straightforward prose. The endpapers show photographs of Helen and Annie, bringing them further to life. As the author’s note reminds us, “This story is about two extraordinary women.” Young readers cannot fail to be inspired.
JUST RIGHT FOR CHRISTMAS
By Birdie Black
Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw Nosy Crow, 32 pp., ages 3 and up, $15.99
THE TOWN MOUSE AND THE COUNTRY MOUSE: An Aesop Fable Retold and Illustrated
By Helen Ward
Templar, 48 pp, ages 4 and up, $16.99
HOW TO BE A DETECTIVE
By Dan Waddell
Illustrated by Jim Smith
Candlewick, 24 pp, ages 7 and up, $19.99
BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
Edited by J. Patrick Lewis
National Geographic, 192 pp., ages 4 and up, $24.95
SPIRIT SEEKER: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey
By Gary Golio
Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
Clarion, 48 pp., ages 9 and up, $17.99
ANNIE AND HELEN
By Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Raul Colón
Schwartz & Wade, 48 pp., ages 4 and up, $17.99
Liz Rosenberg, the author of “Tyrannosaurus Dad,’’ teaches at Binghamton University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.