At NebulaHouse we strive to create stories with characters of all shapes and persuasions from Little Clowns, to Fat Foodie Cats, to terrified one-eyed monsters to Italian caterpillars to stubborn snowflakes. We aim to touch upon a variety of themes and are working towards creating stories for readers of different reading levels and abilities.
Our free E-book “I Fall,” for example, was made with dyslexia in mind, and our newest release “Close Your Eyes, Gideon” from our ‘Foodie Cat’ Digital Storybook Series, features a blind little mole named Jeff, who sees the world with the help of the title character, Gideon. With this story we want to encourage readers to empathize with the others they come across and imagine seeing (or, in this case, not seeing) the world through their eyes.
In this section of our blog we will be featuring real life people who share something in common with our characters and who inspire us. Today, we were thinking of Jeff and the famous American writer Helen Keller came to mind. She is someone every school kid in the USA knows… but since we are an international publishing house, we thought we would share her story with our readers who might not have heard of her.
See the World Through Someone Else’s Eyes – Angle on Helen Keller
Helen Keller was a legendary American author, political activist, and lecturer from the 20th century, who was held in such high esteem that she was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom – one of the two highest civilian honors in the US. She was also selected to be featured on the quarter of the state of Alabama, the state where she was born. She was singled out for these honors because her story is a remarkable one.
Helen Keller was born in 1880 with normal vision and hearing, but at 19 months old, she contracted an unknown illness described by doctors as “acute congestion of the stomach and the brain” which, based on what we know now, was likely meningitis. The world for Helen had suddenly become black and silent.
Her parents, despite their desperation, tried to give their daughter an education like the other children in their small town and when Helen was 7-years old, they hired a private tutor named Annie Sullivan. Annie Sullivan was a determined young teacher who helped little Helen communicate, learn and achieve both intellectual and practical independence.
Annie taught Helen Braille and later Helen learned to read English, French, German, Greek and Latin. At the age of 24, Helen Keller become the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Annie Sullivan was only 20-years old when she arrived in Helen’s life but it was the beginning of a 49-year-long friendship. Annie was a diligent teacher, some say because Annie was visually impaired herself. Keller wrote for most of her adult life. Her most well-known publication was: “Story of My Life, Light in My Darkness and Optimism.”