Awhile ago, I wrote about a book I was reading in the hopes that it would get me out of my work funk. That book was Somebody Else's Kids by Torey Hayden.
Cover: The cover was rather plain. There was a small picture of 4 real live children portraying the children of the story. I was impressed by how the children in the picture resembled the descriptions in the book.
Characters: The main character was the author, Torey Hayden. I find her extremely inspirational. She comes across as a devoted teacher and someone who genuinely cares about her students. The four children she worked with were Boo, Lori, Tomaso, and Claudia. Boo is a low-functioning autistic child. Lori suffered severe physical abuse when she was much younger and developed brain damage that prevents her from learning to read or write. Tomaso is a foster child with severe behavioral problems. Claudia is a pregnant 12 year old from a good family and parochial school. These kids may be considered to be "throw away" children. No one else wanted to be bothered with them, so they sent them to be hidden away in Torey's classroom.
Writing: Hayden does an excellent job of getting beyond the surface of the children. She doesn't just write about their problems but spotlights their strengths. That's one reason I love reading Hayden's books. She does such a great job at pulling out their strengths and helping them build on them. The book was easy to read and written to create an interest in what comes next.
Plot: Hayden's books are all similar in the sense that she is given children who seem to be a lost cause. Sometimes Hayden makes great progress, and sometimes the obstacles are just too great. The plot of this story was predictable in general. There were, however, some surprises along the way. I personally enjoy that Hayden tells her story in a chronological manner. The changes that occur are best understood that way.
Overall: 5/5 I love Hayden's books! I always develop a soft spot in my heart for her kids. Her books also motivate me to not give up on the kids I work with, even if everyone else has.