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San Diego, CA : Harcourt, 2001.
IL 3-6, RL 4.2
ISBN 0152163751

4 booktalks

Booktalk #1

Have you heard the news?  I suppose you passed Mr. Jordan on your way in.  He just left.  He’s the head of the school board, and he just announced that our little school will close at the end of the day.  Well, I don’t like that idea at all.  Yes Ma’am, I understand the teacher’s mother is sick.  But there are only 8 of us here, and most of us, ‘cept for Herbert, do like school.  I know I do.  You see, I want to go on to high school next year, so I have to graduate from eighth grade and take a big important test.  But I’m not concerned just about myself.  My classmate Ida is real smart, much smarter than me - than I.  See, she’d know which pronoun to use.  And someday she wants to be a teacher too.  I surely would hate for her to miss out on this whole year.  After all, we have only around six more weeks to go.  Surely they could get someone to come for only six weeks, but you know how those school board people are about spending money they don’t have to spend.  Hey, wait a minute.  I just got a bright idea.  It wouldn’t cost anyone a bit of money. It just might work, too.  I think I’ll go ask Ida what she thinks.
Prepared by: Daniel Beach for South Carolina Children's Book Award

Booktalk #2

Ida and Tom need to pass the eighth grade exams to start high school. Ida needs to finish high school so that she can train to become a teacher. However, the teacher for their one room school leaves mid-year to care for a sick mother, and the School Board decides not to hire another teacher for the rest of the year. Ida and Tom decide to continue to operate the school in secret so they will be ready for the exams. School is going without any problems until an angry father goes to the school board. Will school continue? Can Ida graduate and go on to high school? Her future hangs in the balance!  (JeanB. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2003-2004)

Booktalk #3

When the teacher in their one-room schoolhouse suddenly quits to take care of her ailing mother, the children of Elk Valley, Colorado are told the school year is over and the school will close for the rest of the school year.  Ida and Tom, the only eighth graders and the oldest children, are faced with not being able to take their exit exams and go on to high school in Steamboat Springs in the fall, and the younger students will all have to repeat their grades next year.  Tom has an idea - Ida should be the teacher!  Good idea, but Mr. Jordan, the head of the school board, would never agree.  The children vote to do it anyway and not tell anyone.  What will it be like to finish the year in The Secret School?  (Mary Lou Wallace,, East Aiken Elementary School)

Booktalk #4

It is spring 1926 in the Colorado Mountains and fourteen year old Ida and her friend Tom are looking forward to finishing the school year, taking their final exam and planning for high school the next year.  Ida plans to become a teacher and Tom wants to be an electric specialist.  Their dreams are shattered when their teacher must leave suddenly to care for her ailing mother and the superintendent decides not to replace her.  This changes everything.  Without a teacher, they can’t take the required exit exams to go to high school and the younger students will have to repeat the year.  But, Ida is the smarted student in the class and she wants to be a teacher anyway….but she couldn’t possibly be the teacher, could she?  Read The Secret School by Avi.  (Lanora Rogers,, Westview Elementary Goose Creek SC)

SUBJECTS:     Teachers -- Fiction.
                        Rural schools -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.
                        Sex role -- Fiction.
                        Colorado -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


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