Somebody Else's Kids

Somebody Else's Kids

Book - 1981
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"Were all just somebody else's kids..." A small seven-year-old boy who couldn't speak except to repeat weather forecasts and other people's words...A beautiful little girl of seven who had been brain damaged by terrible parental beatings and was so ashamed because she couldn't learn to read...A violently angry ten-year-old who had seen his stepmother murder his father and had been sent from one foster home to another ...A shy twelve-year-old from a Catholic school which put her out when she became pregnant... "What do we matter?" "Why do you care?" They were four problem children-put in Torey Hayden's class because no one else knew what to do with them. Together, with the help of a remarkable teacher who cared too much to ever give up, they became almost a family, able to give each other the love and understanding they had found nowhere else.
Publisher: New York : Putnam, c1981.
ISBN: 9780399126024
0399126023
Characteristics: 333 p. ; 23 cm.

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DBRL_KrisA Dec 19, 2016

These books are just so emotionally draining. Not because of the kids themselves; their stories are sad, but the way they handle their lives, often with such positivity, is amazing. No, what exhausts me is the fact that there are such horrible people in the world, that would do such horrible things to children.
The author, Torey Hayden, is a teacher of special -needs children; in some cases, that means giving extra homework help to a kid struggling with math, but in other cases (as in this book ) it means trying to reach out to a kindergartener with autism, or helping a 10 year old manage severe anger issues, or providing a safe learning space for a pregnant 12 year old. A pregnant. 12 year old. Whose parents refuse to discuss her pregnancy or her post-delivery plans.
The majority of my anger and frustration centers around the story of Lori, a young girl who, as a result of child abuse, has suffered brain damage. In most regards she's a typical little girl, but she's physically unable to read; her brain is unable to recognize the different letters and words. She comes to Torey's class for extra help, mainly because her main 1st grade teacher is an idiot who doesn't understand the difference between someone who's being lazy and not trying, and someone who has a physical freaking handicap and cannot freaking do reading, no matter how hard she tries! This idiot teacher makes Lori stand in front of her entire class and read; when she can't read a book, her teacher moves to a lower level book and tries again, gradually moving to ever lower skill levels, the entire time berating Lori for her "stupidity" and "laziness", until Lori vomits from nerves and runs from the room.
While reading this book, I had to constantly remind myself that it was taking place in the 1970s, when special education was a completely different animal. Mainstreaming, or involving special - needs children in the regular classroom as much as possible, was apparently a big thing, and kids who couldn't keep up were (apparently ) out of luck.

penpencil22 Jun 24, 2011

I loved it. Quick read, and very entertaining. The children are simply adorable, and I could just feel the love Torey had for them.

s
sassychx
Nov 23, 2010

EXCELLENT!! True story of a teacher who cares about the kids and not only wants to teach them but to help them understand their surroundings. She takes the time to know and understand them... The kids are amazing of how resilient they are even though some have been thru so much!

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