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Secret School
Sandpiper, 2003
more historical
The Secret School

More than anything, Ida Bidson wants to become a teacher. To do that, she needs to finish eighth grade so she can go on to high school. But when the one-room school in Ida’s remote Colorado town closes unexpectedly, that dream seems unattainable. Her only hope is to keep the school open without anyone finding out. Yet even a secret school needs a teacher. Ida can’t be it … or can she?

Story Behind the Story

The way The Secret School begins, with fourteen-year-old Ida driving a Model T Ford, but being so short her brother needed to be on the floor working the clutch and brakes, is a true tale, told to me by a bookstore owner who had gone to a one-room school house. Though very young she had a special driver’s license which allowed her to drive—but only back and forth to her one-room school house.

I think it was hearing that story that led me to write The Secret School. read more

Awards and Honors

IRA Teachers’ choice
IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Award 2002
Children's Literature Choice, 2002
Smithsonian Magazine, Notable Book Of the Year, 2001
Parent’s Guide Media Awards, 2001
Children's Choice nominee, Kansas
Children's Choice nominee, South Carolina
Children's Choice nominee, California
Children's Choice nominee, Iowa

Review

“Humorously effective descriptions, as in the Bidson’s old car ‘hiccupping like a damp firecracker,’ enliven the sense of hardships. The importance of education and dreaming of one’s future are imparted in an entertaining way. This carefully plotted, enjoyable, old-fashioned tale of children taking control of a bad situation is a welcome addition to the literature of empowerment.” (School Library Journal)

 
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