Elaine's Circle: A Teacher, a Student, a Classroom and One Unforgettable Year

Bob Katz, Author . Marlowe $15.95 (219p) ISBN 978-1-56924-384-8

While working on a "book of uplifting (and true) stories about teachers," Katz (The New Public School Parent ) found Elaine Moore, the fourth-grade teacher of Seamus Farrell, a student who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in December 1982. Based on interviews with Seamus's now college-age classmates, his family and neighbors, and Moore's co-workers in Eagle River, Alaska (just outside of Anchorage), Katz recreates the 1982–1983 school year in this account of an innovative and compassionate teacher's answer to the question "if Seamus was no longer strong enough to come to Ravenwood [School], why not have the class come to him?" In keeping with her belief that "children can handle the truth, even hard truths; what they can't handle is not knowing," Moore informs and guides her students as they find a way to keep Seamus a member of their class. In small groups, they form mutually beneficial peer tutor meetings at Seamus's home during lunch hour. Sadly, Seamus died the following September—although he outlived the six-week prognosis by almost a year. Katz's book is about handling illness and death, and about teaching; Seamus's spunk, his teacher's perseverance and his parents' dedication are quite moving. Agent, George Greenfield . (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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