A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Teacher, His Class, and Their Unforgettable Journey

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Macmillan, Feb 23, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 276 pages
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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 conjunction with NASA, high school students compete in a variety of activities similar to those experienced by astronauts in training for space shuttle missions. There was only one problem: this program had been specifically designed for gifted and talented students, the best and the brightest from America's most privileged high schools.

Kersjes believed that, given a chance, his kids could do as well as anybody, and with remarkable persistence broke down one barrier after another, from his own principal's office to the inner sanctum of NASA, until Space Camp opened its doors, on an experimental basis, to special ed students. After nine months of rigorous preparation, during which the class molded itself into a working team, they arrived at Space Camp, where they turned in a performance so startling, so surprising, that it will leave the reader breathless. A truly triumphant story of the power of the human spirit.

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User Review  - Jclark5 - LibraryThing

This is the book I read for the book club we had in our class. It is a non fiction story about a special education teacher who has special dreams for his students. He is an incredible teacher who ... Read full review

A smile as big as the moon: a teacher, his class, and their unforgettable journey

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A high school special education teacher in Michigan, Kersjes faced enormous odds when he decided that he wanted his class to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, a program aimed at providing simulated ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Mike Kersjes is president of Space Is Special Inc., a not-for-profit organization that helps special education students enhance their science and mathematics skills using space as a motivational theme. He has been a special education teacher and football coach for more than twenty years with the Forest Hills Public School system and is currently working with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of California, Irvine. Kersjes lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Joe Layden is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He lives in upstate New York.

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