Category Archives: Books

“Runaway” on a snowy weekend?

Here is Massachusetts, we had a crazy blizzard that caused school to be cancelled for days.  No school last Friday as well as yesterday and today.  We just got the call that we will be going back tomorrow.  Of course I liked having the time off, but without power and heat, we were displaced for a few days – my husband and I were lucky to have a place to go, but it’s always nice to come home.

What to do on a snowy weekend with no power?  Read, of course.  Although I love to read, I never feel like I have the time.  But this weekend I did, and there is one book in particular that I am glad I had the time to read.

It was Runaway Girl by Carissa Phelps.  Carissa writes about her childhood and experiences having run away from home and the terrible things she went through while living on the street and in and out of group home, juvenile hall, etc.  Carissa tells her story with maturity and honesty, and her story is really heartbreaking.

What touched me the most was reading about all the people in her life who tried to help, who saw something in her.  As a math teacher myself, I was especially interested in the math teacher she met at a juvenile detention center.  While the other students were struggling with basic math, Mrs. W. saw that Carissa could do more.  She helped Carissa learn Algebra.  She showed confidence in her, she believed in her, and you could tell that mattered to Carissa, even as she was so troubled.  Carissa found solace, from a world that probably didn’t make a lot of sense, in math.  It made sense.  It’s funny, sometimes that’s what I like about math too.

Of course, it’s not a story about math at all.  It’s more of a story of succeeding in spite of the difficult things, the terrible things, that happen in life.  It reminds me, as a teacher, that we need to let kids know that we believe in them, that they can do anything they set their mind to.  That’s something we can all learn from.