I recently received a letter from an elementary principal and media specialist who wanted to let me know that their school did a “one book” reading program that, to my delight, used one of my books, The Secret School. All 235 families and staff members were given a copy of the book. “We read the book together following a reading calendar, did trivia, and activities, and ended with a popcorn party … Every school day during the reading period, we had a trivia question based on the book and a historical fact about our school.”
[For readers who don’t know the book, the setting is 1925, in rural Colorado. It tells the story of a one-room schoolhouse that loses its only teacher. Not wanting to close the school, the eight students, led by eighth-graders Ida and Tom, decide to secretly keep the school open so they can finish the term. They do so contrary to the desires of the head of the school board and choose Ida—fourteen years old—to be their teacher.]
One of the wonderful thing about books—such as this one—is that they can be a fresh experience for new readers even though it was written more than twenty years ago. Indeed, it is curiously ironic that historical fiction can often live on when current up-to-date fiction can sometimes fade because it is too current.
Furthermore, that a public school should choose a book that highlights the mild rebellion of young people wanting to continue their education—no matter what it takes—gives me great pleasure on many levels. Not only was I able to thank the school but I’ve been able to show my appreciation by offering a virtual visit (no fees involved) to talk about the book, answer student questions, and share the news (and a first chapter) of the sequel to the book, The Secret Sisters which will be published in 2023. No writer could ask for more.
[And if any other school wishes to do such an all-school read of any one of my books, I’ll be happy to join in on the fun in the same fashion.] Let me know.
1 thought on “One School, One Book”
My 3 children are at the elementary school that did this program and they all thoroughly enjoyed reading it each night.