CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 7. . . .October 21, 2016
The novel Hand in Hand, by Jean Little, is a story based on the true-life relationship of Helen Keller and the daughter of the family cook, Martha Washington. It informs the reader about how Helen lost her sight and hearing to fever when she was quite young. Although I already knew the story of Helen Keller, this novel focuses on the connection between a privileged disabled white girl and her companion, an African American servant’s daughter. Their relationship is interesting, and the reader is compelled to follow along on their journey as they build a connection which eventually goes beyond being raised in the same place at the same time. The arrival of Miss Annie, a teacher who works with Helen to teach her the meaning of words, facilitates a deeper bond between Helen and Martha. The process of finger spelling brings more meaning to life for Helen. The reader can just imagine the enlightenment Helen must have experienced when she realized that all of the letters Miss Annie spelled into her hand made words and that those words had meaning. The reader is left wondering how Helen and Martha’s relationship blossomed from that point. Both my daughter and I truly enjoyed this story although we did feel that there were too many characters to sort out at the beginning of the book.
Janet Beauchamp, a high school teacher, teacher-librarian, and mother of three girls, lives in L’Amable, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.