Mr. Terupt is a school teacher we get to know through the voices of seven of his students. Through them we learn that Mr. Terupt cares for them, no matter what they do. We learn that he coaches them to take personal responsibility for their actions. He encourages them to become confident, caring individuals. He makes learning fun. (I love those dollar words) He stands up for them.
I liked that through the student's voices, not only do we get to know Mr. Terupt, we also become aware of the realities of the children's families, their personal demons, their struggles, and their hopes.
I like that he sets up time for the students to visit a special needs classroom to help them understand the novel he is reading with them. Not only do these visits provide opportunity to understand and befriend these other children, it reveals aspects of themselves to each other that are not visible in their regular space together.
Unfortunately, Mr. Terupt makes a huge miscalculation about how much his students are ready for, and it ends in near disaster. Yet this near disaster becomes a catalyst that moves the children, their families, and their community forward.
I like that this book provides a window into the reality of a classroom that many outside of one are not aware of. It should be noted that Mr. Terupt's classroom is unique. He has only twenty (five groups of four students) grade five students. It is much easier to personalize learning with this number of children in your class than it is with the more common 28 and more.
I can't wait to read the next book in the series!