Avi author writer
Poppy's Return Nothing But the Truth Crispin Cross of Lead True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Catch You Later, Traitor Avi author writer
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?

Behind the Book

Avi writes: I’ve long been fascinated by one-room school houses. At one time there were thousands of them all over the country. If you go to a school in what is referred to as a “consolidated” school district, chances are that back in the 1960s a whole lot of one-room school houses consolidated to make that district. You may have grandparents who went to such schools. In Colorado, where I live, a few still exist! One of the things that interests me about these schools is how older students helped the younger ones learn, and how the schools often functioned as a large family, and were often the social center of a whole area. When I was working on the book I visited some one-room schools that still function.

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


“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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