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Having read everything that Torey Hayden has published, I’m still not tired of reading about heroic special education teachers. I searched around and found this book by MacCracken. It’s written in a similar format to Hayden’s books, chronicling one school year in MacCracken’s life. There are several big differences though. First, MacCracken has fictionalized her account, rather than just changing names and places like Hayden does. (In spite of this, the book is still categorized as non-fiction by the library.) Second, MacCracken writes with much more of a political agenda. Where Hayden will comment on laws and policies that make her teaching difficult, MacCracken tends to complain and rant, which is annoying and distracting from the story. A third difference is that MacCracken does describe her teaching methods in more detail, which for me as a teacher, is interesting and helpful.Lovey, a Very Special Child

Somebody Else's KidsThis was the first book I ever read by Hayden. I read it first years ago, loved it, but forgot about it. Then, when I was at my mom’s house last summer, she had another Hayden book, One Child, which I read. That reminded me of this book, so I read it over again.

As do most of her books, this one chronicles one school year with Hayden and her classroom. This time, she’s teaching as a resource room teacher, but also is given the responsibility of teaching 4 children who don’t fit in anywhere else. My favorite storyline involves Lori, a first grade student who just can’t learn how to read, no matter what anybody tries. Eventually, Hayden comes to realize that for Lori, there are more important things than reading. Because this story takes place early in Hayden’s career, she has a hard time summoning the courage to stand up to school officials and fighting for Lori.

Ghost Girl by Torey Hayden

12th September 2005

Ghost Girl: The True Story of a Child in Peril and the Teacher Who Saved HerHayden has written about some truly horrific abuse situations, but this book is by far the most disturbing. Hayden moves to a tiny town in the midwest during the middle of the school year to take on a 4 student special ed. class. While all of the children present a challenge, Jadie is the biggest mystery. Initially, she will talk to nobody. When Jadie begins talking to Hayden, Hayden soon realizes that something is seriously wrong with Jadie, even though her home life at first glance seems fine. Hayden comes to suspect that Jadie is a victim of some type of ritual abuse. However, she has no proof, and nobody in the small town can believe such an accusation could be true in their town. This was a hard book to read. I think the worst part was that even though Hayden and other “officials” knew something horrible was happening to Jadie, and were supposed to be able to protect Jadie, they were helpless to do so without any hard evidence.