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Helen Keller

Helen Keller (1880–1968)

Details of Helen Keller’s early life are well known thanks to William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker (DB26428, BR13555) and the film made from it. The story of six-year-old Helen Keller, deaf-blind from the age of nineteen months, being introduced to language by her teacher Anne Sullivan never fails to move audiences. What followed is less well known. Keller went on to attend Radcliffe College, where she became the first deaf-blind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. While there she published The Story of My Life (BR14704, DB55883), the first volume of her autobiography, and began her career as a writer. Throughout her life Helen Keller wrote books, essays, and speeches while advocating for numerous causes, such as workers’ rights and women’s suffrage. She worked for the American Foundation for the Blind for more than 40 years and traveled around the world to promote the needs of blind people. This minibibliography brings together Helen Keller’s writings along with biographies and studies of her career.

All titles can be requested from your local cooperating library. The digital braille and talking book titles can be downloaded from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded on an iOS device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display. To find your library go to or call toll-free 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

By Helen Keller

Helen Keller: Selected Writings
edited by Kim E. Nielsen

Collection of letters, articles, speeches, and book excerpts written throughout Keller’s life. Arranged chronologically, the writings express Keller’s love for the written word, explain her book writing process, and demonstrate her interest in social, political, and theological issues. 2005.
Download DB61696

Light in My Darkness
Keller describes the influence that the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg had on her life from the age of sixteen. Keller wrote some of the passages as early as 1903. The original work was published in 1927 and later revised by Ray Silverman. This edition includes an introduction by Norman Vincent Peale. 1994.
Download BR10856
Download DB44017

Midstream: My Later Life
Helen Keller continues her autobiography following The Story of My Life (BR14704, DB55883). Describes her life after her sophomore year at Radcliffe College, including her writing, lecturing, acting, and work on behalf of blind people. Discusses her friendships with Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Carnegies. 1929.
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The Story of My Life
The restored classic autobiography of an exceptional young woman and her companion, originally published in 1903, with 2003 commentary by editor Roger Shattuck. Helen Keller’s own account of her transformation is followed by her teacher Anne Sullivan’s record of their early years together and insights of Anne’s husband, John Macy. 1903.
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Teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy: A Tribute by the Foster Child of Her Mind
Helen Keller pays homage to Anne Sullivan Macy, her teacher, companion, and friend. Keller explains her own desire to remedy the public’s perceived lack of appreciation for the critical role played by the inventive, dedicated woman who helped her to communicate with the world. 1955.
Download DB59301

To Love This Life: Quotations
Quotations from speeches, letters, articles, and interviews by the author, lecturer, and humanitarian who became deaf-blind at nineteen months of age. Topics include the senses, faith, women in society, human nature, war and peace, education, happiness, friendship and love, and triumph over adversity. Includes a chronology of Keller’s life from 1880 to 1968. 2000.
Download DB51187
Download BR12932

The World I Live In
New edition of a short collection of personal essays Helen Keller wrote in 1908 when she was twenty-eight. This reflective work is separated into three categories: the senses, especially touch; imagination, thinking, and language; and dream analysis. Introduction by Roger Shattuck. 2003.
Download BR15462
Download DB57951

About Helen Keller

Helen Keller, Public Speaker: Sightless but Seen, Deaf but Heard
by Lois J. Einhorn
An account of Helen Keller’s public speaking, concentrating on the characteristics, effectiveness, and broad range of topics of her speeches. Observes that, although sightless and deaf, she learned to communicate effectively, inspiring others with her “vision of a better tomorrow.” Provides a chronology of her discourse. 1998.
Download BR13617
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Helen Keller: A Life
by Dorothy Herrmann
A chronological account of Keller’s long, eventful life, written from a woman’s perspective. Herrmann explores Keller’s world, perceived without sight or sound; her ability to remain cheerful about her disabilities; and her relationship with teacher Anne Sullivan. 1998.
Download BR12198
Download DB48038

Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy
by Joseph P. Lash
Dual biography reveals the depth and intensity in the mutually dependent relationship between deaf-blind Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Chronicles both women’s childhoods and adult years until Keller’s death in 1968. 1980.
Download BR15171
Download DB57818

Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller
by Kim E. Nielsen
The author of The Radical Lives of Helen Keller (BR15304, DB57987) uses Anne Sullivan Macy’s notes and letters to portray her impoverished upbringing, education at the Perkins Institution, and personal relationships, especially with her pupil Helen Keller. 2009.
Download BR18459
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The Radical Lives of Helen Keller
by Kim E. Nielsen
Feminist professor analyzes the political and social views of Helen Keller. Describes Keller’s support of the Socialist Party of America in 1909, women’s suffrage and birth control, and radical labor unions. But, according to the author, “the disability politics she adopted were frequently conservative, consistently patronizing, and occasionally repugnant.” 2004.
Download BR15304
Download DB57987

Children’s Books

Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle
by Holly Barry
This upbeat introduction to the life of Helen Keller salutes her lifelong dedication to dogs, especially her four-legged childhood companion, Belle. For grades 2­­­–4. 2013.
Download DBC00707

The World at Her Fingertips: The Story of Helen Keller
by Joan Dash
A biography of the woman who overcame her disabilities to be an inspirational public figure. Discusses the cause of Helen Keller’s blindness and deafness, her determination to lead a useful life, and the importance of her teacher—Annie Sullivan—throughout Helen’s life. For grades 5–8. 2001.
Download BR13552
Download DB52383

Helen’s Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s Teacher
by Marfe Ferguson Delano
Covers the life of Annie Sullivan (1866–1936), which changed dramatically in 1887 when she met blind and deaf pupil seven-year-old Helen Keller. Examines their breakthrough in communication, rise to fame, financial difficulties, and constant mutual respect and devotion. For grades 4–7. 2008.
Download BR18195
Download DB67852

Helen Keller: Lighting the Way for the Blind and Deaf
by Carin T. Ford
Discusses the life and accomplishments of Helen Keller. Covers how illness left her blind and deaf at an early age and how her teacher, Annie Sullivan, helped her overcome these handicaps. Describes Keller’s determination to have a college education and to improve conditions for others. For grades 6–9. 2001.
Download DB53574

Helen Keller: A Level Two Reader
by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel
A beginning reader about the life of Helen Keller. For grades K–3. 2002.
Download BR14991

Helen Keller: A Light for the Blind
by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Alabama. When she was a toddler, a terrible fever left her deaf and blind. At first everyone spoiled Helen and allowed her to misbehave. By the age of six, she was uncontrollable. Her parents asked Anne Sullivan, a teacher from the Perkins School for the Blind, to come and teach Helen. Helen became famous for her work on behalf of persons with disabilities. For grades 3–6. 1989.
Download DB34676

Helen Keller: Rebellious Spirit
by Laurie Lawlor
Biography of the blind and deaf girl whose spirit knew no limitations. Discusses Keller’s achievements in the context of the social expectations for women and people with disabilities in the early twentieth century. Describes her disappointments and frustrations as well as her accomplishments. For grades 5–8. 2001.
Download BR14162
Download DB54590

Helen Keller: Discover the Life of an American Legend
by Don McLeese
Biography of Helen Keller, who became blind and deaf as the result of a childhood fever but learned to read, speak, and write. For grades 2–4. 2003.
Download BR14883

Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller
by Sarah Elizabeth Miller
Alabama, 1887. Twenty-year-old Annie Sullivan, newly hired to teach a six-year-old deaf, blind, and thoroughly spoiled girl, Helen Keller, finds she must contend with Helen’s indulgent parents as well. Sign language finally becomes communication when Helen makes her first breakthrough. For grades 5–8 and older readers. 2007.
Download BR17490
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Helen’s Big World
by Doreen Rappaport
This biography of Helen Keller introduces young readers to one of the world’s most influential women. Using quotes from Keller herself, the author brings to life her story of courage and achievement. For grades K–3. 2012.
Download DBC01406

Helen Keller: Out of a Dark and Silent World
by Sandra H. Shichtman
A biography of the deaf and blind woman who became an internationally celebrated speaker, writer, and advocate for people with disabilities. For grades 2–4. 2002.
Download DB59217

Helen Keller
by George Sullivan
Biography of the gifted woman who successfully dealt with her own disabilities while trying to better the lives of other deaf and blind people. Uses excerpts from Helen Keller’s writings. For grades 3–6. 2000.
Download BR14116
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Helen Keller
by Jane Sutcliffe
Focuses on the early years of Helen Keller and how she learned to read, write, and sign with the help of her teacher Annie Sullivan. Uncontracted braille. For grades 2–4 and older readers. 2002.
Download BR14643

Helen Keller
by Katharine Elliott Wilkie
This biography focuses on the childhood years of the deaf and blind woman who learned to read, write, and speak with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. For grades 3–6. 1969.
Download DB22657

Spanish Language

La Historia De Mi Vida
por Helen Keller
Helen Keller narra la historia de su infancia y juventud, escrito en 1902 mientras estaba en la universidad de Radcliffe. Sordociega a causa de una enfermedad cuando era un bebé, la joven Helen sin embargo aprendio a comunicarse plenamente con el mundo a su alrededor a resultado de su propia perseverancia y la ayuda de su maestra, Anne Sullivan. Traducido del inglés. 2007. (Helen Keller’s account of her early years, written in 1902 while attending Radcliffe. Discusses being deaf-blind due to illness during toddlerhood but nonetheless reaching out to the world around her through her own perseverance and the help of teacher Anne Sullivan. Translated from English. Spanish language. 2007.)
Download DB70965

Helen Keller
por Francene Sabin
Relata la historia de Helen Keller, una niña estadounidense que sufrió una enfermedad en su infancia que la dejó ciega y sordomuda. Con la ayuda de su maestra, Annie Sullivan, aprendi a leer y escribir y se convirtió en una inspiración para el mundo. Para grados K–3. (Relates the life of Helen Keller, an American girl whose illness during early childhood left her blind, deaf, and mute. With the help of teacher Annie Sullivan, Helen learned to read and write and became an inspiration to the world. For grades K–3. Spanish language. 2006.)
Download DB70265