“Beautiful Child” by Torey Hayden

I bought this book when I was on a year long off-work leave, and needed just that thread to keep me in touch with my speech therapist self. Yet, and for no obvious reasons I kept the book aside and never got to read it until almost 2 years later when I had already gone back to work. You know when even the simplest of things happen and at the time you wondered why, but when you see the end-result you extol the Creator for drawing every little detail of your life in perfect order?  (Subhan Allah) I’m currently working with a similar case in clinic, this book came in the very right time. I’ve been walking miles of success with this little boy (here) and this book should take some credit for this. Anyway, back to the book:

Torey Hayden, the author, writes about her experiences of working with children with special needs in a number of books, this is one of them. Here she relays her story when she was the teacher in charge of a classroom with children who had behavioural problems. Venus Fox was this little girl who never spoke. She did not utter one word and no one knew why. Amid this verbal and social solitude, she would also have sudden outbursts of aggressive behaviour towards other innocent children. Torey intervenes in every possible way but nothing seems to work. What makes this teacher special is that she’s wholly dedicated and totally committed.  Along with Venus (the mute child), Torey has other students who are very challenging, a classroom where kicking, fist fighting, swearing becomes a daily routine. Her ways of treating the problem and disciplining the children is very unusual and atypical, thus causing clashes with the teacher assistant. She’s overwhelmed with all the drama in the class but never gives “surrender” a chance.

My thoughts on the book:

  • If this is a true story and all the facts are correct, I salute Torey, she’s truly gifted for whole-heartedly reaching out for the disadvantaged. She is compassionate, loving, caring, creative and fun!   
  • Very inspirational, particularly because I work with children with special needs. 
  • Amid the gloom and bloom, the author would throw shots of humor that leaves you laughing out loud.
  • Detailing everyday routine gave me a hint of boredom, made me want to read the book from the back at times (but I didn’t)
  • When you think you know the end of the story but just read for the sake of reading, that is when the actual drama starts, and it’s quite a page turner rush then, couldn’t resist the urge and finished the last 2 or 3 chapters in one read.
  • Highly recommend the book for teachers, therapists and anyone who is involved with a child with special needs.


  1. Nadia said,

    June 16, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    You may enjoy reading ‘Child of Eternity’ by Adriana Rocha & Kristi Jorde (daughter and mother). I read this several years ago and was very much inspired by Adriana, a child with autism and severe disabilities, but with an extraordinary mind. She co-wrote the book.

  2. Nadia said,

    June 16, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Oh, and what makes the book unique is that it describes how Adriana the autistic child used Facilitated Communication, a keyboard technique that allows autistics to communicate, to present revelations about her own past lives, the concept of spiritual masters, life & death, God, and the guides available to help others on the path to enlightenment. Quite extraordinary.

    • Shahrazad said,

      June 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm

      Great, thanks alot, that’s exactly the type of books I want to read. I’m adding it to my long list of to-read books. They inspire me alot. I do work with autistic children myself, Mashallah.. they have worlds of magic in their minds, worlds we yet need to discover!

      Do you usually order books through amazon? I’ve done so when I was in Scotland, but stopped since I came back, was just wondering if it’s feasible.

  3. Nadia said,

    June 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I order books from Amazon practically every month! They’re very efficient. The book arrive in Salalah around 10 days after I make the order. Probably a shorter time is required for Muscat. Amazon is the only reason I’m alive. I’m a bookworm, and we don’t really have a bookstore in Salalah.

  4. themuslimkid said,

    June 21, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Oh, I hope you’ve seen Organica’s blog, thats all she talks about right now…


    Nice blog, thanks for commenting on mine. I hope you keep visiting, and vice versa.


    -The Muslim Kid-

    • Shahrazad said,

      June 23, 2009 at 8:53 am

      Oh yah I’m a regular follower to Organica’s blog, it’s in my blogroll.

      Thanks, will keep visiting your blog!

  5. Megan said,

    July 1, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I just finished this book…I had the feeling by the middle of the book that Torey might have ended up adopting Venus, but this never happened. Great read.

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