Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Smile as Big as the Moon

A Smile as Big as the Moon is the first person account of high school special education teacher Mike Kersjes's amazing journey with his students from an isolated classroom in Grand Rapids to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The strength of this book is the story, not the style.  Kersjes idea, that his class of special needs kids would benefit from participating in Space Camp with the brightest and most advantaged kids in the country, was not supported by his school principal or even the special education superintendent.  But he persisted and proved that given a chance, these kids could be successful. 
The events in this book took place in 1988-1989.  The book was orignally published in 2002.  It came to my attention about a couple of weeks ago when a patron told me about the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on this story.   I wanted to read the book first so I would know which parts of the movie were true.  As it turns out, the movie is mostly true to the book.  One of the neatest things about the movie is the casting of the kids in Kersjes's class.  Many actually had the same challenges as the characters they were portraying. 

E.M. -- Reference Desk

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