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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

MEDIA ADVISORY: The American Foundation for the Blind to Honor Helen Keller during Women's History Month with Special Event for New York School Children

New biography for young readers, Helen's Big World, by author Doreen Rappaport and illustrator Matt Tavares, celebrates Helen Keller's tireless work as advocate for women, children, and people with disabilities

New York (February 7, 2013)—On March 1, students from across New York City will learn about famous disability and women's rights activist Helen Keller at a book reading and Women’s History Month celebration at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Helen Keller's induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame at Seneca Falls, NY, and the Centennial of the 1913 Women's Suffrage March.

A seminal figure in American History, Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing at 19 months and went on to become an equal rights activist, world-renowned goodwill ambassador, and advocate for those marginalized by society. She worked at AFB for 44 years and bequeathed her archival collection, which contains over 80,000 items, including letters from seven U.S. presidents and luminaries such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein.

To celebrate Helen Keller's role as a champion for those with disabilities, the American Foundation for the Blind will host a special event for New York students at its headquarters at 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10121.

Nearly 100 students in grades 4-6 from five New York schools—New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx, St. Aloysius School and P.S. 87 in Manhattan, CS 21 in Brooklyn, and Fox Meadow School in Scarsdale—will have the opportunity to:

  • Meet Doreen Rappaport, author of the award-winning biography Helen's Big World and Matt Tavares, the book's illustrator; hear why they chose to tell Helen’s story and how they created the book;
  • Talk with Keller Johnson-Thompson, Helen’s great grand-niece, about Helen's family life and the challenges she faced;
  • Meet Carl R. Augusto, AFB's President and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind;
  • See Helen Keller's Oscar Statue and other items including her diploma from Radcliffe College, her earliest handwriting sample and letters from leading figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Pearl S. Buck; students will tour AFB's gallery with archivist Helen Selsdon;
  • Try on goggles that simulate various eye conditions and learn how new technologies like the iPhone help kids with vision loss.

"While providing a voice for a community in need, Helen Keller was also overcoming her own incredible odds and proving that people with disabilities could live complete, meaningful lives," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "Her life continues to be an inspiration for both sighted as well as blind and visually impaired individuals, and we are proud to welcome Doreen, Matt and Keller to AFB to help promote Helen Keller's legacy of civic action and empowerment to future generations."


American Foundation for the Blind
2 Penn Plaza
Suite 1102
New York, NY 10121


Friday, March 1, 10:30 a.m.


John Mackin, Media Relations Manager, AFB

Karin Lippert

RSVP required. Must be on building security list to enter 2 Penn Plaza.


About AFB
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

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