by Torey Hayden
One Child made a lasting impression on me when I first read it. It is the story of an abused and neglected child who showed up in Hayden's special education class one day. The child, Sheila, had been found tying another child to a tree and setting him on fire. She was six years old. She was supposed to go to a mental institution but there was no room, so in the meantime she got stuck in Hayden's classroom. At first Sheila was violent, destructive and mute. She caused a lot of tumult in a classroom of children who already had various developmental and emotional problems. Eventually Hayden won her trust and began helping her heal. Unfortuantely, she was unable to prevent further tragedy happening to Sheila, but she certainly gave the child a big boost on her road to recovery. I am eager to read the sequel and find out what heppened to Sheila as a teenager. Her feisty personality and intelligence shine through the pages and make it quite a memorable book. It is well-written, full of lively dialog and vividly emotional scenes. The story of what happened to Sheila would break anyone's heart.
Rating: 4/5 ......... 251 pages, 1980
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