Sunday, May 11, 2008

New children's book explores world of Laura Bridgman, deaf-blind pioneer

She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer, for ages 9-12, by husband-and-wife authors Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander, received a positive review in The Washington Post May 11.

The review called the book from Clarion Publishers "meticulously researched."

The Post says, "Bridgman was an extraordinarily intelligent and strong-willed child, consumed with curiosity about the things she could touch and sense in the world around her. Through a fortunate turn of events, she became the student -- and eventual star pupil -- of Samuel Gridley Howe, the head of what is now the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston."

It was Bridgman's success that paved the way for Helen Keller.

"With the help of Howe and other teachers, Bridgman learned to read and write, proving that deaf-blind people could be educated," The Post explains. "Her accomplishments brought her worldwide fame; her admirers included author Charles Dickens and activist Dorothea Dix. Today, however, Bridgman is all but forgotten, overshadowed by another deaf-blind young woman named Helen Keller. The Alexanders demonstrate how Bridgman's education laid the foundation for Keller's success 50 years later, for it was Bridgman who taught Keller's teacher how to fingerspell."