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A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp
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A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  183 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Besides being a football coach at his Michigan High School, Mike Kersjes taught special education classes, dealing with children whose disabilities included Tourette syndrome, Downs Syndrome, dyslexia, eating disorders and a variety of emotional problems.

One autumn Kersjes got the outlandish idea that his students would benefit from going to Space Camp, where, in conjuncti...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 6th 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published February 23rd 2002)
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Melissa (ladybug)
May 21, 2012 Melissa (ladybug) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Was a very enjoyable story. This book was about a Special Education Teacher and his students. The good and the bad was shown in this book. We see that with the right opportunities, and with just a little patience and help, children are able to accomplish amazing things. These children, who had myriad problems, were able to go to Space Camp (camp for highly intelligent kids) and were able to have fun, participate and learn. This book will inform and bring you warm feelings. The children showed th...more
Eileen Drummond
I saw the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie before I read this book, and I was still touched and moved knowign what would happen. This is a heartwarming story of a special education teacher who proved that space camp is for everyone.
Rebecca
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very inspiring! It provides a fresh perspective to the world of "special education" and the possibilities.
W
“Remember — don’t be afraid to go after your dreams. It may take a lot of hard work on your part, but if you’re willing to make the sacrifices, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.”

In 1989, Mike Kersjes and his teaching partner, Robynn McKinney, got the idea to send their class of special education students to Space Camp — an opportunity generally reserved for the best and brightest students. After overcoming initial obstacles, fundraising struggles, personal trials, and opposition from with...more
Jenny Snelling
The book was very heartwarming. A group of special education students who did the unthinkable and succeeded as they were the first special ed students who went to space camp. I cheered on their successes and cried with their disappointments. A teacher who went through challenges to get his class to space camp. He prepared them to the best of his ability and then stepped back to allow his students to shine.
It is a book for anyone who works with special need students should read. There is somethin...more
Jonathan Stefanopoulos
This book is one of the things that inspired me to change my career and become a special education teacher... I learned a lot about teaching kids with special needs and what to expect when I became a teacher. I recommend this book for anyone considering teacher or for anyone who works with kids. I have heard they made a movie about the book and look forward to watching it. The story is very inspirational!
Bryna Messmer
He had me from the get-go! What a great journey. It was a real "feel-good" book and even had me in tears at times. My only critique would be that he should've left it more of a mystery of whether or not they actually GO to the Space Camp. Because you are already aware that they are going, the struggles he went through to get them there was not as intense as it could've been.
Kelley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edna Messmer
Apr 06, 2014 Edna Messmer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teachers
Recommended to Edna by: Bryna
This was a heart warming novel about a special education teacher and his unique class. I wish he had just named the book 'A Smile as Big as the Moon" and left off the rest. Along with that I wish he had eliminated or changed his prologue. These two things allowed the reader to know that the class DID go to space camp and then he spent a good half of the book developing how he convinced the director, his principal and others that his kids deserved to go. Although still interesting, I think it wou...more
Mary
I read this book my senior year of high school......a month later, I was applying for teacher education programs. What a great story.
Miste
Feel good true story about a group of special education high school kids who go to space camp. The book is written by the teacher who helped make it all possible. It goes to show that given the right opportunities and help ALL children are capable of doing amazing things. Before this particular group of children went to space camp it was reserved for honors/gifted type, rich kids. These kids were able not only to go, but they were competitive right along with the gifted kids! A real triumph of u...more
Duffy
As a big sister to a younger sister with Downs Syndrome, it is refreshing to read about one of the unique teachers of special ed. It is inspiring, it is a call to "shoot for the moon," and it reads easily and smoothly. A lot better than the TV version of the same story. It is good to know that special ed made a positive impact on the development of Space Camp.
Jessie
SO great. A fabulous story that cheers for the underdogs! Makes me love working in special ed! It's a story about a high school special ed teacher who tries to get his kids into Space Camp that's typically for "gifted and talented" kids. A really quick and feel good read.
Jamie
this was a FABULOUS special ed story - so up my alley! this teacher worked to get his special ed kids to go to NASA space camp against all types of stupid people. i laughed out loud, shed some tears, smiled dorky smiles and just loved it!!!
Nicholas
Nov 15, 2009 Nicholas rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Teachers (esp. special education teachers), future astronauts
An interesting look into the challenges facing special education students and teachers today. These students had a variety of mental and social challenges and it was very interesting to learn what all of these people went through on their journey.
Sarah
Absolutely amazing! Everyone needs to read this book in order to see special education students as individuals and not lumped together under the same umbrella. I also really liked how honest Kersjes was about his feelings/expectations.
Robin Templin
If I had to choose one book to share with teachers... it would be this true story. Makes you believe in the endless possibilities that can happen when kids are simply believed in and given the opportunity to soar.
Amber
Great book! A must read for all teachers! Really a great view point and insight on special education students. Book and movie are very close in comparison and both are incredible and inspiring.
Sarah Wright
I'm so glad I read along with my husband's required reading for grad school! I passed on the treasure and now all of my family has enjoyed it. Inspiring and heartwarming!!!
Monica
An inspiring tale...brought more to life since I just graduated from Space Camp myself, and I grew up in Huntsville. Catch the movie if you are not a reader.
Beth
What a great book!!! I'm recommending this to all of my teaching friends! Very uplifting, and offered a different way to think about our students.
Donna
Very nice and inspiring story. I watched the Hallmark movie but the book goes into to more detail and I enjoyed reading it. Very fast read.
Allie
Such a great book! I loved how well Kersjes characterizes special needs students. I laughed out loud and nearly cried while reading this book.
Kristen
Oct 01, 2007 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, people who want a feel-good, pull for the underdogs kind of read
Good book--I related as a former teacher, but enjoyed it just as a person. The story is great to follow--it will be a good movie someday.
Don
A very good read, written in a way that kept you engrossed and waiting for what was coming next, best part is that it is true.
Laurie
I got this book as the "Book Award" from the Department of Special Education when I got my Master's from TCNJ. It's awesome!
Kimberlie
Mike is part of my extended family, and his charisma is just as inspiring today as he appears in this book. I loved it!
Kathy Barnes
I loved it, parts of it reminded me of moments in elementary school. Read the book first, then see the movie.
Rene Daihl
I love this book - being that I am a Special Education teacher, it really touched my heart!!
Jocelyn Friedman
Nov 19, 2007 Jocelyn Friedman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in special education or those in human services
I really enjoyed this book and would suggest it for those who want an uplifting story to inspire!
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A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Teacher, His Class, and Their Unforgettable Journey Readers Digest Select Editions, 2002, Volume 120 A Smile as Big as the Moon

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