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A Take on “Far from the Tree”

The International Educator
by Beckett Haight

I had heard talk of this book but still hadn’t read it when in the course of a typical IEP meeting, the mother of a 17-year-old student broke down in tears, explaining that she still hadn’t come to terms with her child’s learning disability. I always knew it was hard for families to grip with these realities as their children made their way through elementary school, but this was the first time I was witnessing the pain of this situation as it plays out at the high school level, and it affected me deeply. Soon after, I ordered Far From the Tree, by Andrew Solomon, so I could have a better understanding of what some families are going through.

…Solomon identifies one differing identity or circumstance per chapter and weaves together insightful prose with firsthand accounts of those he has interviewed over the years… While individuals may struggle for some time to understand themselves and their place within their families, the stories in this book describe the various ways that many are able to find an identity in what started off as a difficulty.

…“Far From the Tree” is a page turner. You may tell yourself you’re only going to read one short section, but soon you find yourself finishing the chapter. The stories and insights are compelling, and the internal shifts prompted by reading this book make it a must-read, not just for every special educator but for all people that work with children and families.

(To read the full review, please visit The International Educator.)