So B. It

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For the film based on the novel, see So B. It (film).
So B. It
So B. It by Sarah Weeks.jpg
Author Sarah Weeks
Country America
Language English
Series None
Genre Realistic fiction
Publisher Harper Collins
Publication date
Pages 245

So B. It is a children's novel by Sarah Weeks, released in 2004. In 2007, it won book awards in Illinois (the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award[1]) and Kansas (the William Allen White Children's Book Award[2]).


Book summary[edit]

Heidi is a twelve-year old girl with a mentally disabled mother, but who is otherwise extremely lucky. She is taken care of by her next-door neighbor, Bernadette, at whose door the two appeared when Heidi was about a week old. She has no other family of whom she is aware, as the agoraphobic Bernadette had been unable to find any clue of their origins. Before stumbling upon an old disposable camera, Heidi has no further information other than that her mother's 23-word vocabulary includes the word soof, which she assumes holds some meaning she longs to uncover. As she travels alone from Reno, Nevada to Liberty, New York to visit the group home in the photographs and question its tight-lipped manager, she is assisted by strangers on the bus and Liberty residents. Meanwhile she questions the idea of whether all truths are knowable, and in light of bad luck, tragedy that strikes during her trip, and the uncomfortable nature of the truth, she also questions whether knowing the truth is always a worthwhile pursuit. The heartwarming ending shows Heidi learning not only the meanings of the mysterious soof, but also learning to be comfortable with the limitations on what she can know.


Heidi DeMuth (originally known as Heidi It): The main character in the story. A twelve-year old girl, she is kind, courageous, extremely lucky and determined.

Sophia Lynne DeMuth (called Mama by Heidi; Soof by Elliot; Precious Bouquet or just Precious by Bernadette; and So Be It by herself): Heidi's mentally disabled mother. She is kind and loving, even though she has a very limited vocabulary and little ability to learn. She likes Jujyfruit candies but dislikes buses (see Diane DeMuth).

Bernadette "Bernie" (called Dette by Sophia): Heidi's next-door neighbor who acts as mother or guardian to Heidi. She has agoraphobia.

Alexander "Zander": An older boy who lives in Heidi's apartment building. Though gruff, Heidi enjoys his company because he tells outlandish stories she likes to analyze for their truthfulness.

Elliot Hill: Heidi's father and Sophia's best friend. He is also mentally disabled. Calls Sophia "soof" because he cannot pronounce "Sophia".

Thurman Hill: Heidi's grandfather. He works at Hilltop Home, a place for the mentally disabled, where Heidi's mother lived for a year.

Ruby Franklin: A Hilltop Home employee who helps Heidi with her quest and takes care of her for part of her journey. Her husband is Roy Franklin (see below).

Roy Franklin: Ruby's husband, a local sheriff, who helps Heidi find the truth about herself.

Diane DeMuth: Heidi's grandmother. She unfortunately died when Heidi was a baby, in a bus accident, the reason Sophia is afraid of buses.

Alice Wilinsky: The first person Heidi rides with on her way to Liberty. In response to Alice's prolonged discussion of her own extended family, Heidi invents a fantasy family life that includes answers to questions she is seeking to solve, but Alice knows easily that Heidi is lying and becomes disinterested in continuing conversation.

Georgia Sweet: An 18-year-old bound for college who joins Heidi for the next part of her bus trip. Unlike Alice Wilinsky, Georgia is more interested in Heidi than herself, and Heidi finds herself sharing her true story in detail and without embellishment.

Mama's words[edit]

Soof: A mysterious word Mama says that Heidi seeks the meaning of. She discovers it was Mama's friend Elliot's way of saying her name (Sophia) which she then used as a word to mean "love."

So B It: How Mama pronounces her own name.

Dette: Mama's word for Bernadette.

Back Soon: tells her to be back soon

Heidi: The story's main character, also her daughter.

Tea: Tea, which Mama makes for Heidi or Bernadette.

Done: Once Mama is finished with a task ( example: opening cans); Used by Mama when she gets frustrated

Complete list of Mama's words in order (Also the names of the chapters)[edit]

  1. Heidi
  2. Dette
  3. Hello
  4. Soof
  5. Shh
  6. Tea
  7. Out
  8. More
  9. Back soon
  10. Go
  11. Good
  12. Again
  13. Blue
  14. Pretty
  15. Now
  16. Hot
  17. Kiss
  18. Bad
  19. No
  20. Uh-oh
  21. Ow
  22. Done
  23. So be it

Film adaptation[edit]

Main article: So B. It (film)

The book is currently being adapted to a film directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, starring Talitha Bateman, Jessica Collins, Alfre Woodard, John Heard, Jacinda Barrett, Dash Mihok, and Cloris Leachman.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award". Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  2. ^ William Allen White Children's Book Award
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (May 28, 2015). "Alfre Woodard, Talitha Bateman to Star in Drama 'So B. It' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (June 30, 2015). "John Heard, Cloris Leachman, Jacinda Barrett Join 'So B. It' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
Preceded by
The City of Ember
Winner of the
William Allen White Children's Book Award
Grades 6–8

Succeeded by
Airball: My Life in Briefs