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January 2021

This is Hayden’s first novel. It’s written for kids. David has been bouncing around different foster homes forThe Very Worst Thing as long as he can remember. When he finds an owl egg, he and a classmate decide to try and hatch it. In the process, they become friends. A good book about friendship, responsibility, and belonging.

Murphy's BoyHayden is now working as a research psychologist, specializing in elective mutism. She is asked to work with a boy named Kevin, nicknamed “Zoo-Boy.” Kevin doesn’t speak, creates cages under tables to hide in, and fears water so much that he refuses to bathe. When Hayden helps Kevin overcome his fear of speaking, she begins to unravel his terrible history of abuse and violence. While revealing more and more about his past, Kevin’s anger towards his abusers spirals out of control.

This was a hard book to read. The abuse that Kevin suffered was shocking, and the difficulties that Hayden went through to help Kevin were also disturbing. The events in this book took place during the same time period as those in The Tiger’s Child. It is mind-boggling to me how Hayden is able to invest herself so deeply into one child’s life, let alone more than one at the same time.

Another school year in the teaching career of Torey Hayden. This time, Hayden’s biggest challenge is a silent girl named Venus. Venus is a 6 year old girl, who refuses to speak, or even move or participate in any way. When provoked, Venus flies into a horrible rage. Torey also has 4 other severely disturbed children in her class full-time, in addition to numerous students who drop in for resource help.Beautiful Child

While the book focuses on Venus and her struggles, Hayden also discusses her difficulties in working with her teacher’s aide, and in creating a sense of class unity amongst a class of kids who don’t want to be at school. Once again, I come away from this book inspired by Hayden’s dedication to her job.

The Tiger's Child : The Story of a Gifted, Troubled Child and the Teacher Who Refused to Give Up on HerThis is the sequel to One Child. While working on the manuscript for One Child, Hayden decided that she needed to show it to Sheila before it was published. It took some time, but she managed to track Sheila down. Sheila was now a teenager, who had completely forgotten almost everything about the time that she had spent in Hayden’s class. Hayden and Sheila renew their relationship, and Sheila begins to remember her past.

This book wasn’t as satisfying to read as some of Hayden’s other books. I think it’s because you see that even thought Hayden pours herself into helping her students, she really can’t fix everything. While her other books are realistic, they generally do end on an upbeat note. As a reader, you imagine that now that Hayden has had a breakthrough with a child, the child will go on improving and eventually lead a normal, happy life. Of course, although we like to believe this, it’s not always true.

One Child by Torey Hayden

13th July 2005

The author of this book is a teacher who teaches children that nobody else will teach. She has written many books about her experiences with her students. In this particular book, she focuses on one 6 year old girl – Sheila – who has been severely abused and abandoned, and is reacting with extreme anger and violence. Hayden works with Sheila over the course of several months and manages to help her deal with the traumas she’s undergone.One Child

This is the type of book that makes me feel guilty for how easy my teaching career has been. I’ve had one student who had some rather severe outbursts, but they were isolated and not the norm. Hayden has had classes full of students with severe needs, and not only survived, but helped her students to thrive. There aren’t very many classes like Hayden’s in existence anymore, due to mainstreaming of special needs students. In spite of the guilt, her books are very inspiring to read.

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