Title: She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer
Author: Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander
Pages: 100 pages
Publisher/Date: Clarion Books, c2008.
“By the time Laura Bridgman was twelve years old, she was … famous. Like all children, you would have loved an admired her. You would have named your favorite dool after her. . . . And then you would have poked out the doll’s eyes.” (xi)
Almost everyone has heard of Helen Keller, the deaf-blind child who finally understood words after her teacher placed her hand under running water. But this is the lesser known story of Laura Bridgman, who was born 50 years before Helen Keller. Laura, like Helen, was born with all her senses. At three years old, Helen and her two sisters contracted scarlett fever. While her sisters died from the disease, Helen survived but lost her vision and hearing, along with most of her senses of taste and smell. Left only with touch, Laura was patiently taught to navigate the world around her. Written by someone who is also considered a deaf-blind person, Sally Hobart Alexander provides a unique perspective of this little known trailblazer in She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer.
I thought this was a good book. While more could have been said regarding her adult life, the book was very well organized. Including pictuers, historical context, source notes, bibliography, index, and websites, I wish all children’s biographies were this well put together and researched. Alexander presents the source information in a balanced way, introducing different sources that offer various descriptions of the same events. At the very end, children are given a brief introduction into the advances of today for people like Laura.