http://growingbookbybook.com/sample-page/I am pleased to be participating in Booking Across the USA, a collaborative project of over 50 bloggers who are sharing picture books and activities from every state.

“Alabama the Beautiful” is a state tourism slogan from a few years ago, and Alabama certainly is that. From the white-sand beaches of the gulf to the rugged, craggy foothills of the northeast, the landscape has beauty in spades. But the real beauty of Alabama comes from its people. I am not claiming that Alabama folks are perfect, but when it comes to overcoming adversity, you won’t find better examples anywhere — Rosa Parks, Heather Whitestone, and Marva Collins all hail from our state. So when I started looking at books for the Booking Across the USA project, I knew focusing on an Alabama personality would be the way to go.

 

Helen’s Big World

It seemed fitting to focus on the personality engraved on the back of our state quarter — Helen Keller. Born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, a childhood fever left Helen blind and deaf at the age of two. Through the patience and perseverance of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, and much hard work, Helen learned to sign, read, write and eventually talk. She graduated from Radcliff college in 1904 and went on to become an advocate for the deaf and blind and a political activist.

My search for a good book on Keller was plagued by insipid children’s biographies. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller. This is a beautiful book. It is over sized with large illustrations that fill the pages to the edges, effectively drawing the reader into Helen’s world. The book tells the story of her life and is interspersed with her own quotes, lending an authentic look into Helen’s thoughts on her trials and successes. Unlike other children’s books, this one does touch briefly on Keller’s later social activism. It does not mention specifics, so while it is true to Keller’s legacy, it does allow families with younger children to focus on her triumph over adversity without having to discuss meatier topics if they do not desire.

Activities

Our activities with the book focused on the senses and information about the communication of the deaf and blind. We briefly discussed the use of braille and took turns running our fingers over the raised braille title embossed on the cover of the book. Next we turned out attention to the finger alphabet. There are sketches of the alphabet on the back fly-leaf of the book, but I also downloaded a set of finger alphabet flash cards from ABC Teach. We reviewed each of the letters and then took turns finger spelling the names of family members.

The flashcards provided clear diagrams on the finger spelling alphabet.
O-L-I-V-I-A

Our next activity focused on “seeing” with our fingers. For this the kids each donned a blindfold. I provided a number of small household objects for them to feel and guess. They identified most of them pretty easily, but the chalk did stump Olivia. Eventually, she employed the senses of smell and taste as well to try and figure out what the strange object was.

Smelling the chalk to see if the extra sense would help with the identification.
Sometimes we would get stumped, but that was part of the fun.

Even More

Now Book It!

Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are Booking Across the USA today for more fascinating books and activities. There is a giveaway on the Booking Main Page an some of these other ladies are offering giveaways as well. Check them all out!

All 50 States for Booking Across the USA Blog Hop,  A book review and crafts, activities, or freebies are included in each post.  All the posts were live on February 25, 2013.
Booking Across the USA Host:  Growing Book by Book
Blogging Across the USA Blog Hop button
Flag of Alabama from Wikipedia CommonsAlabama Blog Post by Everyday Snapshots Blog  Flag of Alaska from Wikipedia CommonsAlaska Blog Post by Little Wonders’ Days Blog
Flag of Arkansas from Wikipedia CommonsArkansas Blog Post by Homeschooling in Arkansas Flag of Arizona from Wikipedia CommonsArizona Blog Post by Simply Kinder Flag of California from WikipediaCalifornia Blog Post by Juggling with Kids 

Flag of CaliforniaCalifornia Blog Post by The Outlaw Mom

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Colorado Blog Post by Living Montessori Now

Flag of Connecticut from Wikipedia CommonsConnecticut Blog Post By Teacher Park BlogFlag of Delaware from Wikipedia CommonsDelaware Blog Post by Mama MissFlag of Florida from WikipediaFlorida Blog Post by the Teaching Stars BlogFlag of Georgia USA from Wikipedia CommonsGeorgia Blog Post by Fabulously First BlogFlag of Hawaii from Wikipedia CommonsHawaii Blog Post by Teaching with Style

 

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Idaho post by True Aim Education Blog

Flag of Illinois from Wikipedia CommonsIllinois State Post by Growing Book by BookFlag of Indiana from Wikipedia CommonsIndiana State Post by Teach Pre-School BlogFlag of Iowa from Wikipedia CommonsIowa Blog Post by Surviving a Teacher Salary BlogFlag of Kansas from Wikipedia CommonsKansas Blog Post by KCEdventures Flag of Kentucky from Wikipedia Commons wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Kentucky.svgKentucky Blog Post by Chicken BabiesFlag of Louisiana from Wikipedia CommonsLouisiana Blog Post by Your Child’s Next Book and Project BlogFlag of Maine from Wikipedia CommonsMaine Blog Post by Country FunFlag of Maryland from Wikipedia CommonsMaryland Blog Post by Picture Books and PiourettesFlag of Massachusetts from Wikipedia CommonsMassachusetts Blog Post by Mama Smiles BlogFlag of Michigan from Wikipedia CommonsMichigan Blog Post by Play Dr. MomFlag of Minnesota from Wikipedia CommonsMinnesota Post by the Wise Owl Factory Book a Day Blog

Flag of Mississippi from Wikipedia CommonsMississippi Blog Post by Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Flag of Missouri from Wikipedia CommonsMissouri Blog Post by Ready, Set, Read BlogFlag of Montana from Wikipedia CommonsMontana Blog Post by The Honey Bunch 

Flag of Nebraska from Wikipedia CommonsNebraska Blog Post by The Good Long Road

Flag of Nevada from Wikipedia CommonsNevada Blog Post by Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Crafts Blog

 

Flag of New Hampshire from Wikipedia CommonsNew Hampshire Blog Post by Elementary Matters

 

Flag of New Jersey from Wikipedia CommonsNew Jersey Blog Post by The Pleasantest Thing

 

Flag of New Mexico from Wikipedia CommonsNew Mexico Blog Post by The Enchanted Homeschooling Mom Blog

 

Flag of New York from Wikipedia CommonsNew York Blog Post by What Do We Do All Day Blog

Flag of North Carolina from Wikipedia CommonsNorth Carolina Post by the Realistic Teacher BlogFlag of North Dakota from WikipediaNorth Dakota Post by ND Health Works 

Flag of Ohio from Wikipedia CommonsOhio Blog Post by the Smart Chick Teacher Blog

Flag of Oklahoma from Wikipedia CommonsOklahoma Blog Post by Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Flag of Oregon from Wikipedia CommonsOregon State Post by Journey of a Substitute Teacher Blog

 

Flag of Pennsylvania from Wikipedia CommonsPennsylvania Blog Post by the Land of Once Upon a Time 

Flag of Rhode Island from Wikipedia CommonsRhode Island Blog Post by Smiling in Second

 

Flag of South Carolina from Wikipedia CommonsSouth Carolina Blog Post by Cookies and Kiddos

 

Flag of South Dakota from WikipediaSouth Dakota Blog Post by Wise Owl Factory Book a Day 

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Flag of Texas from Wikipedia CommonsTexas Blog Post by Curls and a Smile

Flag of Texas from WikipediaTexas Blog Post by Kid World Citizen

Flag of Utah from Wikipedia CommonsUtah Blog Post by Teach Beside Me Blog

 

Flag of Vermont from Wikipedia CommonsVermont Blog Post by Vermont Moms Blog

 

Flag of Virginia from Wikipedia CommonsVirginia Blog Post by Once Upon a Story Blog

Flag of Virginia from WikipediaVirginia Post by the Freckled Homeschooler Blog

 

Flag of Washington State from Wikipedia CommonsWashington Blog Post by Home Learning Journey

Flag of West Virginia from Wikipedia CommonsWest Virginia Blog Post by Great Peace Academy Blog

Flag of West VirginiaWest Virginia Blog Post by Mamas Like Me

Flag of Wisconsin from Wikipedia CommonsWisconsin Blog Post by Reading Confetti

 

Flag of Wyoming from Wikipedia CommonsWyoming Blog Post by No Twiddle Twaddle

 

Flag of the United States of America from Wikipedia CommonsUSA Blog Post by the Corner on Character Blog

 

More US Geography from Everyday Snapshots

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Pam Barnhill

Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular  podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.