An Interview with Midge Noble: Ice Cubes Around the Neck?

Nov 19, 2011 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

Midge Noble is a licensed professional counselor in the state of North Carolina. She received a Master of Arts Degree in Counselor Education and Research from Appalachian State University and has worked in the counseling field since 1985. She has worked as a school counselor, a counselor for terminally ill children and their families, a mental health counselor, and now is serving children and their families in private practice. Noble works extensively with children who have been abused, neglected, bullied, or are the bullies. This is her second children’s book. In this interview, she responds to questions about the book and relevant tangential issues.

1)      First of all, this book is about an adolescent who died tragically- what happened?

The inspiration for the ICE CUBE AWARD was actually a child client that I worked with many years ago.  He and I worked together for a long time.   He had huge rages that included throwing things in the office when he would lose a game.  I continued to work with him, and he stared making great progress.  About two months after that picture, he died in a house fire.

2)  Some individuals realize they have a problem with stress or anger. How does this book help?

The main character in the story definitely over reacts to angry situations. In the books, she learns how to stop taking things personally. How to use positive self talk, positive imagery, and to take control of her thoughts, words, and actions in order to stay calm and not over react.

3)      This book reminds me of the TURTLE technique that I used to teach kids- to withdraw when danger or stress approaches. How did the ice cube around the neck develop?

During a session, I asked the child to draw a picture of himself happy and without the angry rages that he often displayed.  He drew a picture of himself with a big goofy grin and a necklace around his neck.  When asked about his picture, he told me, the picture was him, being happy, and that the necklace was his ice cube. I inquired about the ice cube and he stated that it kept him cool!  The idea of the book popped into my head.  The book is dedicated to his memory and his inspiration.

4)      Anger is an interesting thing in that some people seem to have more of it than others- is there any evidence that it is brain based?

I believe that our brain controls everything, from blinking, to breathing, to badgering ourselves and others because of what we choose to focus on and the meaning we assign to events in our lives.  If we choose to focus our brain on staying calm and reminding ourselves to not over react, we can take control of what we think, say, and do.

5)      And obviously STRESS affects us all- and some of us have more than others- how did this young man cope? Or didn’t he cope well?

He struggled with coping.  His anger flashed quickly and explosively.  But I have realized that most of our reactions come from a deep seated fear of either not being good enough, not being heard, not having enough or not being worthy. Toward the end, he had learned to control some of the impulses and he was feeling much better about himself in general.

6)      School is great if you are accepted and well liked- but some students are below average and are ostracized-Is there anything teachers or counselors can do?

Teachers and counselors have a huge impact on children and in their schools.  If a teacher has a real zero tolerance for treating others with disrespect, she will model that for all of her students.  If a teacher doesn’t do that, the kids pick up on that.  Kids need role models that will show them, not just tell them, but show them that ALL students are worthy to be leaders, to sit at the teacher’s table, to get praised, and are valuable to the adult. The adult can accentuate the child’s strengths, even if their particular strength is not academics, but possibly art, sports, etc.

7)   Apparently, this individual was attempting to cope and the ice cubes around the neck could also be construed as a cry for help- your thoughts?

I loved the analogy of the ice cube.  I think that this child valued having concrete ways to manage the anger and that is what made the difference for him.  He was able to learn specific skills that he put in place that helped him stay in control of his reactions.

8)      What have I neglected to ask?

Toward the end of the book, Dani (a female character) was able to manage her anger.  She formed a Be Cool Group at school to encourage other students to stay cool under pressure.  I think it is important for kids to have positive groups to be involved with so they can get the right support and learn that they are worthy, and also that being appropriate, kind, and compassionate toward others is valuable.

Also, I wanted to mention that my cousin, Candy Noble Wallace, illustrated the book. She also illustrated my first book which I talk about in question 9.

9)      Where can interested people get more information or order the book?

I have a website: that lists not only the ICE CUBE AWARD, but my first book, SHEBA, Home Is Where Your Heart Is that focuses on abuse, neglect, learning to trust again, and finding your forever home.  Also, my books are available through and


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