By a more or less self-taught teacher of emotionally disturbed children, this is the type of personal report which is...

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A CIRCLE OF CHILDREN

By a more or less self-taught teacher of emotionally disturbed children, this is the type of personal report which is anathema to most professionals and generally popular with laymen. Miss MacCracken, married and mother of two teen-agers, visited a small school for seriously disturbed children on behalf of a Junior League program, was deeply affected and chose to volunteer. As silent satellite to one eminently successful unlicensed teacher -- the profane, energetic and infinitely warm and loving Helga -- Mary learned the importance of body contact, of 100 percent involvement. Then by chance she had an opportunity to sub and eventually took on full time staff work and shared a program with Dan, another gifted teacher. But this is mainly a series of reports on her charges -- Brian, who communicated in bird-like flappings and squawks; Jenny who had decided to be a dog; hostile Stuart, who at four had seen his father commit suicide; Alice obsessed with breasts; Rufus, half-paralyzed with fear, and others. The children do make progress -- via patient, firm training, happy accidents (Brian's speech was decoded with a tape recorder on low speed), excursions and the absolute commitment of the teachers. Miss MacCracken's marriage ends in divorce and there is a strong tie between her and Dan -- revelations not unexpected since the author's methodology (she derides most academic programs for teaching disturbed children) is fueled by a fierce emotional honesty. A single-minded, if somewhat self-righteous, intense account with often involving case studies.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973