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Somebody Else's Kids - Torey L. Hayden

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4 Reviews

Genre: Biography / Author: Torey L. Hayden / Hardcover / 384 Pages / Book is published 2007-04-02 by Harper Element

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    4 Reviews
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    • More +
      09.03.2011 20:14
      Very helpful



      definately worth a read!

      had gone to the library to print off something (my printer had to break at the most inconvenient time) which seemed to be a blessing is disguise after reading this book.

      I am a huge Torey Hayden fan having most of her books, with my personal favorite being One Child. I am currently looking for a job working with children, having been to university etc and I do find her stories fascinating to read. At only 23 I haven't had a great deal of experience working with children with special needs, which may be why I find her stories so enjoyable and interesting to read.
      This particular story does not live up to previous stories from her (hence the 4* star rating not 5*) in my opinion but it is still definately worth a read.

      Torey Hayden is a highly qualifies special needs teacher who thouroughly enjoys working in schools with children who need a lot of extra support. In this story she is working in a school only as a resource teacher, where children go to her for a couple of hours a day to help with their reading and writing skills, although somehow she still ends up as having her own 'class'.
      The main people in the story, including Torey herself, are 4 children Lori, Boo, Tomaso and Claudia.
      All 4 of the children have their own unique story, I don't want to give too much away and ruin your read of the book so I'll just stick to a sentence or two about each of them.

      Lori- A truly lovely child who has some difficulties in life. She is lovable, chatty and caring, but she can have her moments. What we see in the story from Lori's life is how different teachers can impact upon a child's life in different ways. She battled through parental beating which has meant she cant read or write.
      Boo- He does not communicate with anyone and is in his own little world. I think Torey found him most challenging out of the group but with the love of her and his parents they keep on trying with him. He has an excellent memory and randomly repeats words and phrases he has heard, including weather and news reports. Although he fails to acknowledge anything in the real world.

      Tomaso- What we could say is he is an explosive child. For me, I think it is him who comes the furthest out of all the group. Having witnessed a tragedy at a young age, his mother shooting his father. He has been in many foster homes and has a negative view of the world. Torey definately shares a huge fondness for this child.
      Claudia- Claudia is the eldest out of the group at just 12, she becomes pregnant which is why she has to go into Toreys class, being unable to carry on in her catholic school. She is a quiet, reserved child who definitely has to grow up fast.

      This mix of children all end up in Torey's class where they all learn to bond with each other in their own way. No-one else knows what do with them, so it is left to Torey to handle and teach them what she can.
      One thing I liked about reading this book and others by Torey is that she is always realistic and honest. She doesn't claim to be the world's best teacher who can 'cure' these children, she only shows her true love for them. She is definitely a 'trier' who doesn't give up. There are times in the book where she feels she cant carry on and she feels she isn't doing any good for the children, she writes honestly about these times explaining her true feelings. She writes things which at the time she was ashamed to be thinking them, which is refreshing to read honest thoughts.
      The book also explores some personal issues for Torey such as her relationship with her boyfriend. It shows something which I think many people may relate to when you find it hard to leave things which happen at work at work, and not take it home to your home life. Something which Torey's boyfriend found it hard to deal with.

      I enjoyed reading this book and definately recommend if you enjoy reading stories of this type. All of her stories are true and she write from the heart. It was definately a story which I couldn't put down and read it in a few days.
      Book Info:
      Author- Torey Hayden
      First published in 1981.
      This book version was printed in 2007 by HarperElement
      374 pages
      Amazon- Paperback- £5.59
      ISBN- 978-0-00-721866-0


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      • More +
        15.09.2009 09:44
        Very helpful



        Some parts may be upsetting, but is well worth reading

        Torey Hayden is a highly qualified teacher who specialises in teaching those with learning difficulties. This book is a true story which follows the lives of four children who came into her care almost by accident. The children are Boo, Lori, Tomaso and Claudia and although they all have different problems, this book tells how Torey Hayden made them come together as one.

        Boo is a 7 year old who can't speak and is often in his own world. Lori is 8 and although she has a very high IQ she cannot read. It doesn't matter how much Torey tries to teach her to read she just can't learn. Tomaso is Spanish and has a fiery temper, although he too is very clever when he wants to be. And then there is Claudia, who doesn't have any problems apart from the fact that she is pregnant.

        The time frame of the book spans one academic year and gives equal time to each child, describing their problems, giving examples of what goes wrong and tells how Torey tries to help each one. At the time, the education laws were changing and the mainstreaming law had come into force. This meant that there was a set curriculum for everyone to follow, no matter what their problems were, which creates major challenges for Torey and she doesn't always agree with the new laws.

        This book is very well written and really draws the reader in. You can tell the Torey loves her job and it really does get quite emotional at times. There are also some parts which are really shocking. All the children have been affected in some way to make them behave like this and sometimes it can be quite upsetting finding out about their past.

        Torey also involves the parents of all of her children, apart from Tomasos. She only spends a few hours a day with the children and needs to know from the parents what they are like at home and also needs them to co operate in order to make their children better. Boo and Lori's parents are quite willing to help, but Claudia's parents refuse to acknowledge the problems and are quite short sighted. The reader gets a real sense of frustration when Torey tries to make them see things her way but they just don't want to.

        There are also battles with other teachers as well that Torey has to face. Lori was in a regular class but because of her learning difficulties she visits Toreys class for a few hours each day. There is a constant battle between Lori's regular teacher as she also refuses to see that there is anything wrong with Lori and insists that she is just being stubborn.

        Although it covers just a year of their life it was really quite eventful. Towards to end of the book they start making plans for the next academic year and although things don't work out right for all the children it does finish with the reader knowing what happens to them all.

        I really enjoyed this book and it has been a while since I have read something quite as good as this. I actually couldn't put it down and managed to read it in only a few days. It is definitely recommended but you do have to be aware that there are some parts that some might find slightly disturbing.


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        05.06.2009 11:23
        Very helpful



        amazing account of a special needs class and a inspiring teacher

        This is one of the many books by Torey Hayden i have read and i have found this fantastic! this book tells the true story of 4 very different chidlren in her special needs class which makes it a little different to her other's which manily focus on a single child.

        Torey Hayden is a special needs teach, in this book she is teaching a class of four children, one brain damaged, one who is extremely violent, one is a catholic teenage who is pregnant and another small boy who constantly repeats the weather forcastes.

        What i really love about Torey Haydens book is that she is truely committed to helping this kids, who all need 1to1 assistance. She goes above the 9-5 job and commits her day to helping each child reach their potential!

        Torey Hayden is very honest when she writes these books, which makes you realise she is human! She is honest about what strategies have worked for her chidlren and which have failed miserably. Torey recalls her true feelings which makes the book a fantastic read.

        At the time, children with special needs in the school system were resented and seen as using up too many resources and a distraction to mainstream chidlren. Thererfore Torey Hayden is poorley supported by staff and the overall schooling system.

        This book with truely touch your heart with the honest battle on Torey Haydens hands to do the best for these chidlren who are so easily overlooked! another fantastic book by Torey Hayden.

        Other books by Torey Hayden...
        -one child
        -tigers child
        -ghost girl
        -just another kid
        -Murphys boy
        -Beautiful child


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      • More +
        01.09.2007 17:25
        Very helpful



        A book by Torey Hayden about a group of troubled children - a true story.

        “Somebody Else’s Kids” by Torey Hayden is a fantastic book. It is the sort of book that once you start to read you just can’t put it down because you need to know what is going to happen.

        This is the true story of Torey Hayden an educational psychologist and a special-education teacher who works with children with problems in a school in America. This book tells the story of 4 very different children who all find themselves in Torey’s class. All have very different problems but share one thing in common and that is their teacher who shows them love and caring that has been missing in their lives. To Torey these children aren’t just “somebody else’s kids”, they are hers and she will do all in her power to get the best out of them.

        We have Lori, a twin who is 7 years old and very intelligent but who has brain damage from being beaten by her father when she was young. Now adopted she is unable to learn to read because of the damage to her brain and finds this frustrating and upsetting.

        Boo another 7 year old who lives in a world of his own, does not speak except to repeat what other people have said or the weather forecasts he has heard on television. He is not toilet trained, unable to concentrate on any task and at times runs round and round the room uncontrollably.

        Then there is Tomaso a 10 year old boy filled with anger and rage as a result of witnessing his stepmother shoot his father. He has gone from one foster home to another because no-one can control his rages. He still talks about his father as if he is alive.

        Then finally there is Claudia, a shy, quiet 12 year old girl from a good Catholic school and excels in her studies. Only problem is that Claudia is now pregnant.

        Four very different children, each with their own challenging problems. Torey has to find a way to connect to them all and help sort out the problems they have and to try and teach them not just their studies but also skills to help them in their lives. She also has the challenge of working alone with 4 children who each need at times 1-1 attention. She has to deal with physical and verbal abuse and her patience is tried to the limits. Yet through it all she never gives up on these kids.

        This book pulled me in the minute I started to read. Torey writes with great passion and you really get the feeling that she cares for these children. You can sense her frustration as she tries to help these children but comes up against barriers from the children themselves, their families, limited resources and the standard curriculum. These children become her life, when she’s not at work she is worrying about how she can reach out to help them and this encroaches onto her personal life and we see the effect it has on her personal relationships.

        The book mentions that Torey keeps a logbook and I wonder if this is how she remembers so much of the detail that went on in the classroom each day. The children are described in such detail that you really feel as if they are people you know. You feel their problems and like Torey you want to reach out and help them. The book draws you in and you feel compelled to keep reading to find out what happens.

        I can thoroughly recommend this book to you. I found it interesting and thought provoking and it’s certainly one that makes you want to keep reading. Torey Hayden has also written several other books about her experiences these include “One Child” and the follow-up book “Tiger’s Child”, also “Twilight Children”, “Ghost Girl”, “Just Another Kid” and “Beautiful Child”. I am quite excited that I have found another author I really like who has lots more books for me to get stuck into.

        Further Information

        Book – Hardback
        ISBN – 978-0-00-721866-0
        Pages – 376
        Price – Currently £8.58 from Amazon


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      • Product Details

        From the author of Sunday Times bestsellers 'One Child', 'Ghost Girl' and 'Twilight Children' comes a heartbreaking story of one teacher's determination to turn a chaotic group of damaged children into a family. They were all just somebody else's kids - four problem children placed in Torey Hayden's class because nobody knew what else to do with them. They were a motley group of kids in great pain: a small boy who echoed other people's words and repeated weather forecasts; a beautiful seven-year-old girl brain damaged by savage parental beatings; an angry ten-year-old who had watched his stepmother murder his father; a shy twelve-year-old who had been cast out of Catholic school when she became pregnant. But they shared one thing in common: a remarkable teacher who would never stop caring - and who would share with them the love and understanding they had never known to help them become a family.

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