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4.8 out of 5 stars155
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on 11 February 2006
This is the harrowing story of an abandoned and abused child who has never shown any emotion and how one Teacher changed all that. Sheila was placed in Torey’s class as a holding place until a place becomes available in a secure hospital. When she is first introduced Sheila is the quintessential wild-child but with some careful but firm nurturing the gifted child within eventually shines through.
I loved the way this story just sucked you in so you can picture all the children in Torey’s class just sitting in front of you. Reading how Torey managed to tame Sheila and how Sheila managed to cope with being tamed was enthralling. It gives you a new-found respect for Teachers of this stature who put their lives on hold to help those unable to help themselves. And it makes you want to scoop Sheila up and just hug her!
I didn’t realize that ‘Tigers Child’ was a continuation but will be ordering it asap to see what happened next.
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on 1 June 2006
This is a great book and a must read. I was handed this book and started reading late one afternoon - after the first chapter I was hooked and read the entire book that night! It's a roller-coaster ride of emotion, heart warming and emotional to the end. Once you've finished this book you will want to read Tiger's Child by the same author. I finished this book, ordered the second and completed that book in one sitting! I highly recommend both and especially to anyone suffering from clinical depression. Truly inspirational.
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on 4 February 1999
What more can I say? I read this book for the first time several years ago, and I have re-read it over and over. I have a great respect and admiration for Torey Hayden. Her writing inspired me to pursue a career in education and it has changed the way I relate to people, especially children. I heard that One Child is required reading for some college education courses, and it should be! It is great for teachers, parents, or ANYONE! It kept my interest even though I don't normally read very much. If you think you might be interested in this book, please read it-you won't be sorry! Be sure to have a box of tissues handy. :)
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on 20 December 2004
if you have children, this will be a hard book to read but one which sould be read.
a story of trust. love and hope.
torey hayden recounts her life in the classroom of 'difficult' children and how she has helped stabalise them into teaching them and dealing with them and them dealing with everyday life.
this is a story about one child, sheila, aboandoned, unloved, abused and how she helped sheila.
there are lots of books out there about this subject. one story they all give is hope.
read this book and weep. weep for the lost childhood but, above all, weep for the hope
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on 5 April 2005
Torey Hayden recounts the simple, riveting tale a classroom of "crazies" - troubled and mentally disturbed children - centering around her relationship with one girl. Six-year-old Sheila has seen and done horrors unimaginable to most adults; destined to spend her life in a hospital for lighting a three-year-old boy on fire, Hayden imagines the girl to be a hopeless case.
The charm of this books is not in hidden beneath jumbled metaphors and complicated text; it flows easily from page to mind to heart. The real charm of this books lies in the innocence of not only the tortured Sheila, but also that of Hayden, who we also are allowed to watch and feel for through the book, as she is our lense into the world that these children face. It's not done up with drama or long-winded, poetic meanderings of the writer's mind. It is instead based in the humble day to day activites sporatically disrupted by the natural drama that Sheila brings along. Every step of Sheila and Hayden's journey together, the reader is brought closer to their hearts, touched and angered by every event that occurs.
Hayden fights through her struggle to come out in the end more the wiser, as so does the reader. Wiser, less innocent, and so increadibly changed by the tremendous story of one little girl and the teacher who did nothing less and nothing more than simply love her.
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on 31 May 2006
Ok, so christmas day i open a present from my mum and its 'one child' not seen this book before, not one for reading to be honest dont like all these made up stories of wizards etc... taking into account i was only 15 this christmas and when i read some to my mum she said, 'oh...not quite christms reading is it, i wouldn't have bought it had i known', i was weary about reading it but boxing day came and we were going skiing with two other families so i took the book anyway, i must have read nearly a third by the time we landed in france, i am a slow reader but i never wanted to put this book down, it is such a moving story and you were gripped until the very end. i read all of this book in about 5 days and it was amazing i dont wanna give it away what happens because it would ruin it, but ive never read a book that could move me so much, ok i might cry at anything but u felt physically sick at some points in this story. i have now read; one child, the tigers child, twilight children and ghost girl. each one is individual in it own way but ll totally fasinating! i have just this afternoon finished ghost girl and im now looking for a new book to order...if your going to order one child you may as well order the rest i promise you you will be gripped by the end.

buy it!!!
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on 15 November 1997
I truly loved One Child. It spoke to my heart. I'm an 8th grade teacher and found this book on a list of recommended books for middle school children. I have selected some mature readers to read One Child. They all gave it a thumbs up. Torey Hayden is a wonderful writer and a wonderful human being
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on 21 July 2006
I am reading this book for the second time (I read it about 2 years ago) as I am waiting delivery of the follow up - Tiger's Child. Sheila is a troubled 6 year old who has suffered horrific abuse and neglect which in turn has made her into a violent, difficult and withdrawn child. This book reminds the reader that we are all products of our environment, yet despite all of the difficulities in her short life Sheila has great strength, courage and ability, which is slowly, tear-jerkingly (and often hilariously) brought out by her wonderful teacher, Torey Hayden. I cannot explain how much this book has impacted on me. The highs, the lows, the laughter and tears I shed whilst reading this book. By re-reading it I realise now why I have never parted with this book - it is a true gift to read and something that I cherish fiercely. You will be turning the pages desperate to know what happens next on this rollercoaster journey between pupil and teacher, whilst experiencing tears of laughter and sadness and a continued lump in the throat and feelings of admiration for Torey Hayden and Sheila.

If you read one book this year ensure that it is One Child. Having said that, it will not stop there because like me, you will be desperate to know what becomes of Sheila after reading the first book so be sure to have the sequel (Tiger's Child) on your wish list.

I have read many books that show courage and human survival at it's strongest including Kid (by Kevin Lewis - another remarkable read!), A boy called it and his follow up books (Dave Pelzer), Behind Closed Doors (Jenny Tomlin), It could have been you (Merlyn Nuttal) and Hannah's Gift (Maria Housden). All of these books are FANTASTIC - you should read them all if you really enjoy true stories with huge emotional content hope and make the reader feel humility and raw as well as having a strong message about the fraility of life and the ability to survive.

My best wishes to Torey Hayden - what a difference you have made to the children in your classes but also to the readers that have had the privilege of reading your books.

My heartfelt wishes to the "Sheilas" of this world - all too many still in society struggling to cope in spite of their abusive, poor and dysfunctional upbringings who have the courage to try! Your story has been uplifting and heartfelt and I truly hope that life brings you many opportunities with the happiness and security you deserve.
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on 31 July 2004
I first read this book several years ago when i was a student in Canada, it having been published in North America before being released in the UK. It is essentially a biography of a special needs teacher in the US, and involves the reader with stories of her class, with very few aspects of her personal life shown. The book mainly focuses on her meeting and "taming" of Sheila, a very troubled little girl who joins her class.
Torey Hayden has no trouble in keeping the reader engaged; life in her classroom never seems to dim, and the emotional struggles that she must go through to manage Sheila are difficult but rewarding to read about.
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on 26 March 1999
I read this book when I was twelve and I haven't stopped reading since! Not only did it inspire me to love reading, but I also gained an appreciation for the developmentally and physically disabled. After reading, "One Child" I read everything else Torey Hayden wrote. She has had a tremendous impact on my life. I ended up studying Biopsychology and worked for an Autism Research Center in College. Since then, I have become a healthcare administrator with the hopes of one day having my own facility for the developmentally/physically disabled. I owe Torey Hayden much thanks -- she has truly touched my life!!! I highly recommend "One Child" for readers of all ages. In fact, I recently gave this book to a friend studying to be a special education teacher. I know she will be inspired as I was when I read this book 14 years ago!!
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