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Before she began writing books for teens, Liane Shaw was an elementary teacher. She brings her gifts for storytelling and humor to this account of her journey into the lives of emotionally challenged students. With little in the way of experience or resources, she found herself thrust into the most challenging kind of teaching imaginable. From the moment Shaw meets her first two boys, as they sit teetering precariously on top of a bookshelf while swearing at the principal, she is both fascinated and terrified. Funny yet sad, strong yet vulnerable, these boys are both the bullies and the bullied. All from different backgrounds, the one thing they have in common is that the odds are against them and that the myriad efforts of the adults involved in their lives often do more harm than good. Shaw moves from frustration to determination. Readers will root for her to succeed, as invested in the success of these kids as she is. Students and teachers continue to face the same challenges, and our education system is still struggling to cope with its most vulnerable students. Shaw’s wish in sharing her story is clear – that as adults we can help children with mental health issues heal and succeed, and that stories like hers can be moved to the history shelf.

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