This a book about one school year in Torey Hayden's life. Torey is a special education teacher. This year she has twins suffering from Fetal Alcohol syndrome, a boy with Tourette's, a boy with an explosive temper and Venus Fox, an elective mute.
Although the book is about all the children including a few who are sent for only a few hours each day, the book concentrates on Venus. Venus is a mute who does not respond, does not listen or even seem to acknowledge other people.
Venus however does respond when accidently bumped into murderous rages.
Torey tries everything in the book to get the little girl to respond to no avail. Patiently and persistently she keeps on trying until she gets the slightest of nods. Venus does not come to school on a consistent basis and it seems for every step forward there are two back. Torey goes above and beyond to reach this child and bring her back from her silent world
First Line: "The first time I saw her, she was atop a stone wall that ran along the west side of the playground."