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Andrea (Jean) Helman (1946-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

northwest book review animal

(Andy Helman)


Born 1946, in Columbus, OH; Education: Ohio University, B.S. (journalism), 1968. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Jewish.


WOUB Radio, Athens, OH, writer, talent, and producer, 1964-68; Columbus Citizens Journal, Columbus, OH, city desk reporter, 1966; Jewish Chronicle, Pittsburgh, PA, reporter, 1968; Halle Brothers (retail chain), Cleveland, OH, advertising copy writer, 1970; KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, public affairs assistant director, 1970-72; Entertainment Services, Inc., Columbus, promotions director, 1973-74; freelance writer for print, broadcast, and industrial video, 1974—; Warner-Amex QUBE, Columbus, writer, talent, producer, 1977-81; WCMHTV, Columbus, writer, talent, producer,, 1982-83; KING-TV, Seattle, WA, writer, talent, producer, 1983-86; University of Washington, television executive producer, 1990-95. Author in the Schools, 2004—.


Pacific Northwest Writers Conference (trustee), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Honors Awards

Emmy award nominations for Outstanding Achievement, individual craft, and writing, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, for P.M. Magazine series; N.C.T.A. Ace Award; ABC Building Blocks Catalogue selection, and Young Hoosier Picture Book list, 1997-98, and Washington Children's Choice Picture Book award nomination, 1998, and Washington Reads Summer Quarter selection, 2005, all for O Is for Orca; Kids Pick of the Lists, Bookselling This Week, and Top Ten Science Books for Youth designation, Booklist, both 1998, both for Northwest Animal Babies.


O Is for Orca: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet Book, Sasquatch (Seattle, WA), 1995.

1, 2, 3 Moose: A Pacific Northwest Counting Book, Sasquatch (Seattle, WA), 1996.

Northwest Animal Babies, Sasquatch, 1998.

C Is for Coyote: A Southwest Alphabet Book, photographs by Gavriel Jecan, Rising Moon (Flagstaff, AZ), 2002.

Wild Colors, photographs by Gavriel Jecan, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2003.

Contributor of articles and essays to periodicals, including Cosmopolitan, Left Bank, McCalls, Redbook, and Christian Science Monitor.


Writer Andrea Helman has enjoyed a versatile career in the field of print and broadcast journalism and as a visiting author in the schools. A graduate of Ohio University, Helman worked variously as a feature reporter, copywriter, scriptwriter, talent, and producer at a number of newspapers and television and radio stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania before moving to the state of Washington in the early 1980s. A decade later she published the first of her nonfiction books for children. Offering an exploration of Helman's Pacific Northwest home and the natural world. O Is for Orca, an alphabet book, was soon joined by Northwest Animal Babies and 1, 2, 3 Moose, a counting book, all of which have garnered praise for containing informative, fun texts designed for reading at home as well as for use in elementary schools.

Nature comes in many hues, as Andrea Helman makes plain in Wild Colors, which features Helman's informative text and vivid photograph by Gavriel Jecan.

O Is for Orca, illustrated with color photographs by acclaimed nature photographer Art Wolfe, highlights the land, animals, and native people of the Pacific Northwest region. Helman's text "helps youngsters to identify the ecology, habitats, and geography" of this ecologically diverse region, according to School Library Journal contributor Mollie Bynum. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly praised O Is for Orca, citing its "piquant regional flavor" while adding that the book's "appeal shouldn't be limited to a single corner of the country."

1, 2, 3 Moose focuses on the wildlife and other natural features of Helman's adopted home that are celebrated both in the author's text and in Wolfe's accompanying photographs. In this work, "the counting often takes a backseat to science," according to Booklist reviewer Lauren Peterson, as Helman describes the ecology of the region, habits of its wild creatures, and the distinct characteristics of its plant life. The result, Peterson claimed, is a counting book that will be just as useful in teaching science to young children.

Northwest Animal Babies provides animal lovers with fabulously detailed photographs of over two dozen animal offspring of the Pacific Northwest. Kathleen Squires commented in a review of the work for Booklist that "Animal lovers won't be able to resist this natural history treat, with photos that catch animal babies at their cuddly best."

Helman has produced several volumes in collaboration with photographer Gavriel Jecan. C Is for Coyote: A Southwest Alphabet Book focuses on the southwest region of the United States, providing readers with photographs of animals, their habitats, and the natural landscape of this more arid climate. "Full-color photographs of unique natural formations and seldom-seen wonders of nature will invite reflection and discussion among children, parents, and teachers" stated Childhood Education reviewer Jeanie Burnett in a review of the book. Wild Colors, an around-the-world look at the role color plays in nature, contains what a Kirkus Reviews contributor described as a "lavish exploration" of the many plants and animals whose vivid hues are crucial to their survival.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, November 1, 1996, Lauren Peterson, review of 1, 2, 3 Moose, p. 503; September 15, 1998, Kathleen Squires, review of Northwest Animal Babies, p. 233; December 1, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of Northwest Animal Babies, p. 676.

Canadian Children's Literature, spring, 1998, pp. 84-85.

Canadian Review of Materials, April 26, 1996, Carol Carver, review of O Is for Orca: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet Book.

Childhood Education, winter, 2002, Jeanie Burnett, review of C Is for Coyote: A Southwest Alphabet Book, p. 108.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of Wild Colors, p. 1360.

Publishers Weekly, October 2, 1995, review of O Is for Orca, p. 73.

School Library Journal, February, 1996, Mollie Bynum, review of O Is for Orca, p. 95.

Marilyn Helmer Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights [next]

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about 6 years ago

Hi Andy! It was so nice to meet you at the children's theatre. My husband and I really enjoyed visiting with you! I can't wait to get Caribou Crossing. It was pretty exciting to find out your the author of these beautiful books. Love, Suzy

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over 7 years ago

Hi Andy,

I promised my two-year-old daughter I would email you regarding the fact that there is only 1 polar picture in '1 2 3 Moose'.

She felt that a 1 to 18 ratio for the big white creature was an unfair representation. As such, she asked that the book be removed from her room before she goes to sleep, and she insisted I present her view to you.

Anyway, thanks for the beautiful book. Aside for the polar bear issue, she really does love it.

Best regards,

Marcel (for Madison)

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almost 8 years ago


Hi--from your unusal and eclectic ex-brother-in-law!! Also, Happy Life's Feast!!

I have read and suggested to a few of my fellow teachers a number of your books over the past couple of years...I have found them to be fantastic reads,lovely and informatively sensitive. I think these books should all be in the museum store at the Renwick Gallery!! The Smithsonians' own special museum dedicated to crafts and the art of american craft-making---from textile/glass/wood/metal and other materials, I think, (i'm biased) would love to have your books....at least they should!!

Anyway--call me--at 240-388-5149 or write at PO Box 2849/Germantown, MD 20875.

Ironically as i write this--after 41 years--audrey and I rediscovered each other in November-2010--we realized we made a mistake in 1973 by breaking up--and are back together---it's as though--we never skipped a beat or were apart...only texture, time, 3 daughters (hers)and experience have given us a secoond opportunity...to love, appreciate and take one day at-a-time. It's been beautiful!! she lives in Cleveland and is the Urban-Youth librarian for Shaker Heights.

She likes your books as much as I like them. The illustrations--particularly of the southwest(where i lived in Tucson for 3 years)are phenominal.

I have been in Seattle many times since we last talked in '85---(I was in KY--working for the racing industry)---So that's it--for now---I look fwd to hearing from you...