by Mary McCracken
I first read A Circle of Children over ten years ago, having picked it up at random off a shelf in a thrift store. It touched me deeply, and I have read it several times since. Mary McCracken was a volunteer visiting classrooms for learning disabled children when she decided she wanted to work there, despite her friends' protests. She started out as an aid, then substitute teacher, then worked her way up to run a classroom of her own. Her gentle and patient methods showed good results as she taught many of the children basic skills they did not have before, like using the toilet, eating a variety of healthy foods, dressing themselves, speaking to communicate. In cooperation with another special-education teacher, she took her class once a week on a mini field trip, to help the children gain experiences they would not otherwise be exposed to. This book is inspirational, funny and well written. It is still one of my old favorites. Even though it may be a little outdated now, I think it still gives a good picture of what difficulties learning-disabled children have, and what it is like to teach them.
Rating: 4/5 ......... 239 pages, 1974