Booking Across the USA :: Alabama am pleased to be participating in Booking Across the USA, a collaborative project of over 50 bloggers who are sharing picture books and activities from every state.

“Alabama the Beautiful” is a state tourism slogan from a few years ago, and Alabama certainly is that. From the white-sand beaches of the gulf to the rugged, craggy foothills of the northeast, the landscape has beauty in spades. But the real beauty of Alabama comes from its people. I am not claiming that Alabama folks are perfect, but when it comes to overcoming adversity, you won’t find better examples anywhere — Rosa Parks, Heather Whitestone, and Marva Collins all hail from our state. So when I started looking at books for the Booking Across the USA project, I knew focusing on an Alabama personality would be the way to go.


Helen’s Big World

It seemed fitting to focus on the personality engraved on the back of our state quarter — Helen Keller. Born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, a childhood fever left Helen blind and deaf at the age of two. Through the patience and perseverance of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, and much hard work, Helen learned to sign, read, write and eventually talk. She graduated from Radcliff college in 1904 and went on to become an advocate for the deaf and blind and a political activist.

My search for a good book on Keller was plagued by insipid children’s biographies. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller. This is a beautiful book. It is over sized with large illustrations that fill the pages to the edges, effectively drawing the reader into Helen’s world. The book tells the story of her life and is interspersed with her own quotes, lending an authentic look into Helen’s thoughts on her trials and successes. Unlike other children’s books, this one does touch briefly on Keller’s later social activism. It does not mention specifics, so while it is true to Keller’s legacy, it does allow families with younger children to focus on her triumph over adversity without having to discuss meatier topics if they do not desire.


Our activities with the book focused on the senses and information about the communication of the deaf and blind. We briefly discussed the use of braille and took turns running our fingers over the raised braille title embossed on the cover of the book. Next we turned out attention to the finger alphabet. There are sketches of the alphabet on the back fly-leaf of the book, but I also downloaded a set of finger alphabet flash cards from ABC Teach. We reviewed each of the letters and then took turns finger spelling the names of family members.

The flashcards provided clear diagrams on the finger spelling alphabet.

Our next activity focused on “seeing” with our fingers. For this the kids each donned a blindfold. I provided a number of small household objects for them to feel and guess. They identified most of them pretty easily, but the chalk did stump Olivia. Eventually, she employed the senses of smell and taste as well to try and figure out what the strange object was.

Smelling the chalk to see if the extra sense would help with the identification.
Sometimes we would get stumped, but that was part of the fun.

Even More

Now Book It!

Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are Booking Across the USA today for more fascinating books and activities. There is a giveaway on the Booking Main Page an some of these other ladies are offering giveaways as well. Check them all out!

All 50 States for Booking Across the USA Blog Hop,  A book review and crafts, activities, or freebies are included in each post.  All the posts were live on February 25, 2013.
Booking Across the USA Host:  Growing Book by Book
Blogging Across the USA Blog Hop button
Flag of Alabama from Wikipedia CommonsAlabama Blog Post by Everyday Snapshots Blog  Flag of Alaska from Wikipedia CommonsAlaska Blog Post by Little Wonders’ Days Blog
Flag of Arkansas from Wikipedia CommonsArkansas Blog Post by Homeschooling in Arkansas Flag of Arizona from Wikipedia CommonsArizona Blog Post by Simply Kinder Flag of California from WikipediaCalifornia Blog Post by Juggling with Kids 

Flag of CaliforniaCalifornia Blog Post by The Outlaw Mom

Flag of Colorado from Wikipedia CommonsColorado blog Post by Learners in Bloom

Flag of Colorado from Wikipedia

Colorado Blog Post by Living Montessori Now

Flag of Connecticut from Wikipedia CommonsConnecticut Blog Post By Teacher Park BlogFlag of Delaware from Wikipedia CommonsDelaware Blog Post by Mama MissFlag of Florida from WikipediaFlorida Blog Post by the Teaching Stars BlogFlag of Georgia USA from Wikipedia CommonsGeorgia Blog Post by Fabulously First BlogFlag of Hawaii from Wikipedia CommonsHawaii Blog Post by Teaching with Style


Flag of Idaho from Wikipedia Commons

Idaho post by True Aim Education Blog

Flag of Illinois from Wikipedia CommonsIllinois State Post by Growing Book by BookFlag of Indiana from Wikipedia CommonsIndiana State Post by Teach Pre-School BlogFlag of Iowa from Wikipedia CommonsIowa Blog Post by Surviving a Teacher Salary BlogFlag of Kansas from Wikipedia CommonsKansas Blog Post by KCEdventures Flag of Kentucky from Wikipedia Commons Blog Post by Chicken BabiesFlag of Louisiana from Wikipedia CommonsLouisiana Blog Post by Your Child’s Next Book and Project BlogFlag of Maine from Wikipedia CommonsMaine Blog Post by Country FunFlag of Maryland from Wikipedia CommonsMaryland Blog Post by Picture Books and PiourettesFlag of Massachusetts from Wikipedia CommonsMassachusetts Blog Post by Mama Smiles BlogFlag of Michigan from Wikipedia CommonsMichigan Blog Post by Play Dr. MomFlag of Minnesota from Wikipedia CommonsMinnesota Post by the Wise Owl Factory Book a Day Blog

Flag of Mississippi from Wikipedia CommonsMississippi Blog Post by Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Flag of Missouri from Wikipedia CommonsMissouri Blog Post by Ready, Set, Read BlogFlag of Montana from Wikipedia CommonsMontana Blog Post by The Honey Bunch 

Flag of Nebraska from Wikipedia CommonsNebraska Blog Post by The Good Long Road

Flag of Nevada from Wikipedia CommonsNevada Blog Post by Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Crafts Blog


Flag of New Hampshire from Wikipedia CommonsNew Hampshire Blog Post by Elementary Matters


Flag of New Jersey from Wikipedia CommonsNew Jersey Blog Post by The Pleasantest Thing


Flag of New Mexico from Wikipedia CommonsNew Mexico Blog Post by The Enchanted Homeschooling Mom Blog


Flag of New York from Wikipedia CommonsNew York Blog Post by What Do We Do All Day Blog

Flag of North Carolina from Wikipedia CommonsNorth Carolina Post by the Realistic Teacher BlogFlag of North Dakota from WikipediaNorth Dakota Post by ND Health Works 

Flag of Ohio from Wikipedia CommonsOhio Blog Post by the Smart Chick Teacher Blog

Flag of Oklahoma from Wikipedia CommonsOklahoma Blog Post by Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Flag of Oregon from Wikipedia CommonsOregon State Post by Journey of a Substitute Teacher Blog


Flag of Pennsylvania from Wikipedia CommonsPennsylvania Blog Post by the Land of Once Upon a Time 

Flag of Rhode Island from Wikipedia CommonsRhode Island Blog Post by Smiling in Second


Flag of South Carolina from Wikipedia CommonsSouth Carolina Blog Post by Cookies and Kiddos


Flag of South Dakota from WikipediaSouth Dakota Blog Post by Wise Owl Factory Book a Day 

Flag of Tennessee from Wikipedia CommonsTennessee Blog Post by No Monkey Business

Flag of Texas from Wikipedia CommonsTexas Blog Post by Curls and a Smile

Flag of Texas from WikipediaTexas Blog Post by Kid World Citizen

Flag of Utah from Wikipedia CommonsUtah Blog Post by Teach Beside Me Blog


Flag of Vermont from Wikipedia CommonsVermont Blog Post by Vermont Moms Blog


Flag of Virginia from Wikipedia CommonsVirginia Blog Post by Once Upon a Story Blog

Flag of Virginia from WikipediaVirginia Post by the Freckled Homeschooler Blog


Flag of Washington State from Wikipedia CommonsWashington Blog Post by Home Learning Journey

Flag of West Virginia from Wikipedia CommonsWest Virginia Blog Post by Great Peace Academy Blog

Flag of West VirginiaWest Virginia Blog Post by Mamas Like Me

Flag of Wisconsin from Wikipedia CommonsWisconsin Blog Post by Reading Confetti


Flag of Wyoming from Wikipedia CommonsWyoming Blog Post by No Twiddle Twaddle


Flag of the United States of America from Wikipedia CommonsUSA Blog Post by the Corner on Character Blog


More US Geography from Everyday Snapshots

Playful US Geography
More Playful US Geography

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  • Nicole says:

    This is SO cool! I’m going to check it out! I have young kids too (6 and 3) and am dying to do some sort of state study to introduce where each state is but I’m having a hard time coming up with age appropriate activities. Maybe this is what I’m looking for!

  • Karyn Tripp says:

    This is wonderful! I am stopping by from the Booking Across the USA project. I represented UT. I am also a Homeschool blogger 🙂

  • Love the idea of blindfolding so the kids can “see” how difficult the loss of just one of our senses could be.

  • Mandy says:

    awesome!!! you did a great job Pam!!! 🙂

  • Kelly says:

    I love that you combined your state study with a little biography work too. Neat lesson!
    Kelly at Little Wonders’ Days

  • I’ve never been to Alabama. This is a wonderful activity and lesson! We did NY, today.

  • Someone I must admit I taught about in my third grade classroom, but never to my preschoolers. Will definitely be adding as part of the work we do with our senses.

  • Teresa says:

    Thanks for sharing, Pam. I wanted to do something fun over the summer to teach the boys about the United States. This is perfect.

  • Loved that you wanted to capture Alabama’s personality. The book looks beautiful. Thank you so much for participating in Booking Across the USA!

  • Deb Thomas says:

    I loved learning about Helen Keller as a young girl and remember watching the movie! Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas with all of us!
    Deb at Fabulously First

  • Such an inspirational story. I am glad that you included a book about Helen Keller in the project. I will have to be getting this one soon!

  • Love these activities, and I am putting that book on my must read list!

  • Laura says:

    What great resources … the book and your post! Thanks! -PlayDrMom

  • What and inspiring blogpost and activities! Pinning to my 50 states board.

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