Full Circle — An Author’s Confession

So, I have a confession. A couple, actually.

In elementary school, I told both our school librarian and my mother an untruth—that I had lost my Copy of DSC09709copy of Theodore Taylor’s The Cay. The librarian was clearly annoyed and my mother was a bit more than that, having received a bill for the “lost book.” After that, though, it was mine. At the age of ten, it was the first book that I’d ever owned.

I knew it was wrong and I felt bad. I really did. And, I worried I’d be found out. It also bugged me that the librarian and my mother thought I was irresponsible. I wanted to tell them both that I hadn’t actually lost it, but I also knew that the lie was the only way I could keep it.

One for the Murphys has done well—I can’t even express the depth of how happy that makes me—and it has nothing to do with royalty checks or anything like that. (Very few authors are rich–monetarily speaking.) It’s the personal connections.

I have received letters, and e-mails, Tweets, and invitations that have really moved this formerly-Carley-esque author. I’ve further learned about the personal connections people can make to texts. How fictitious people can reach from the pages and save readers. But there are two different e-mails that came in months ago that keep coming back to me—can’t shake them.

One letter was from a teacher, and the other a librarian, who both wrote to tell me that their copies of One for the Murphys had been stolen by students. I got the feeling from both ladies that they both had an idea of who may have taken them, but I also got a sense that they were both going to “let it go.”  The idea of kids stealing does not make me happy—how could I be happy to hear about a child stealing something?

However, I do confess to dropping into my childhood-reluctant-reader-self and being torn. Because I remember lying underneath that scratchy bedspread, holding The Cay and thinking that I just couldn’t give it up. That it was the very first time that I read a story that got under my skin and I didn’t understand why and I knew I had to keep reading it until I figured it out. Over those many readings, I learned a lot about myself. And I learned some things about other people in the world as well.

I shouldn’t have forced my mother to pay for that book. And I am not happy about stolen copies of Murphys. But I have to admit…my heart wonders about the two kids that took them (one 6th grader and one 7th grader). I wonder why. I wonder what it is about the Murphys that spoke to them. I wonder how they feel about what they’ve done. I wonder how they are doing.

But, mostly, I hope that those kids feel like I did in meeting The Cay’s Timothy and Phillip. That meeting Carley, Toni, and the Murphy family will help readers understand themselves, the people around them, their situations, develop compassion for themselves and others, and formulate their own questions about the world.

As an adult who understands those kid-longings, my hope is that these two children find their answers.

In order to attempt to make amends to the universe, I am offering a HERO pack—for teachers, librarians, principals, and school social workers ONLY. Why? Because they are HEROES!!!!  (You may enter on behalf of a teacher/librarian and the box will be mailed directly to the winner at their school 🙂

The winning Hero(ine) will receive all of the following:


1) A new copy of THE CAY by Theodore Taylor because his story helped me so, so much and helped foster my love of stories.

2) A hardcover copy of the 1972 version of TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING—this is the same book my teacher, Mr. Christy, handed me one day—and changed everything. Read full story here on Nerdy Book Club Here.

3) A signed first printing (in third now) copy of One for the Murphys for you—the teacher or librarian.

4) A signed first printing copy of Murphys for your library/classroom.

5) A signed ARC (advance reader copy) of Murphys so that you may show your students what the “test run” looks like from a publisher—very cool to see if you haven’t seen one yet.

6) A bunch of bookmarks for your school

7) A One for the Murphys pen

8) Five “Be someone’s hero” wrist bands

9) ONE “Be someone’s hero/no cape required” T-shirt (teal, black, or red in size large now or other sizes can be forwarded later (Two are shown in picture to show front and back.)

10) A free 45-minute Skype visit with me. Because I love talking with kids and teachers. 🙂


To enter, please make a comment below. Would love to hear your confessions, thoughts about the post, your favorite part of One for the Murphys, or how much you’d like some free stuff for your school/students–I’m flexible 🙂 PLEASE remember to include your e-mail address. (I’m sorry–USA shipping only)

***You may also earn entries by posting this link on Twitter and including my tag — @lynmullalyhunt . You may also retweet my tweet. Thank you 🙂
GIVEAWAY ENDS ON Wednesday, January 23rd at 11:59 pm.

Thank you! 🙂

Categories: author, confession, writing | 109 Comments

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109 thoughts on “Full Circle — An Author’s Confession

  1. Mary Alise Herrera

    I’m not a teacher (per se) or a librarian (per se) – just a middle school principal who is trying to infuse a love of reading back into students and staff. I’ve never “stolen” a book because as a child we had a great, neighborhood, public library and from there I developed my own love of reading. I think this is a great idea Lynda. Enjoy the contest, stories, and posts!.

  2. Can I enter this on behalf of my beautiful friend JoLynn who is the librarian at my children’s elementary school? She will never do it on her own behalf and I would love love LOVE to get this gift for her and for the kids at that school (I miss being part of that community now that my kids have moved on to bigger things). If I could only tell you what an amazing, committed, passionate librarian she is… well, let’s just say, she dresses up in costume on a regular basis.

  3. Sure–you may enter on behalf of a librarian!! Especially one that dresses in costume on a regular basis 🙂 I’ll just say that the winning package must be mailed to a school address. I really want to do a little something to honor the people who are in the trenches every day with our kids. #heroes!

  4. One for the Murphys speaks to so many students in my school. I hide bookmarks in the book so it becomes a surprise during the reading. I would love to win this pack for my school and send a copy to fellow librarians in my district. I have not read The Cay but feel compelled to now.

  5. Hmtigger

    One for the Murphys is one of the most popular books in my classroom. It has especially resonated with a couple of girls who are adopted, but all who have read it relate to Carley. I would love to see this book in more classrooms at my school. One of my copies was “stolen” last year- I was glad that it meant that much to someone:-)

    • Oh, I love knowing that the book resonates with some of your students. Thanks so much for your kind attitude about the missing copy of Murphys. ❤ Wonder what Julie Murphy would say about that. 🙂

  6. Christine Roberts

    I love your confession. I have a feeling you’re not the only person do ever do this. As a school librarian, I can honestly say that turning away from “your life of crime” and giving back to the community by becoming an author of children’s book has more than absolved you of your book love sin. I have seen so much about One For the Murphys on Twitter that I bought a copy with a B&N gift card a student gave me for Christmas. It is next up on my TBR pile. Keep writing wonderful stories!

    • Thanks for the absolution, Christine–you’re very sweet. 🙂 I do try to give back–and I am happy to do it. As a teacher for almost ten years, I felt the same way about authors. I’ve always loved storytellers. Musicians, too, as music often tells a story or expresses an emotion. 🙂 I really do hope that you enjoy reading your Christmas copy of Murphys, You certainly already know what it means to be a hero. 🙂

  7. Haley Shaffer

    Loved this book so much. Was so torn at the end. Wanted her to stay rather than go.

    • I understand. Actually, I really did, too. After I wrote the last chapter (which was only the fifth chater that I wrote) I couldn’t write for several days becasue I was so sad. 😦 I did write an epilogue that I sometimes read at schools, though. 🙂

  8. Vicky VanFradenburgh

    I love The Cay, but I love One for the Murphys even more! Even though so many of my students read my copy, they all wanted their one. This has never happened before.Authors to me are more important and famous than movie stars. To reach the lives of so many through words takes a special gift. My class and I would love these goodies- an ARC! A t-shirt I can wear!! Very cool in my students’ eyes.

    • Hey, Vicky–Your post is so sweet. Thank you 🙂 I am touched to know that your kids want their own copies even after reading One for the Murphys. That’s the kind of news an author dreams of getting.

  9. I’d love to enter on behalf of my daughter’s 6th grade teacher. She is all kinds of awesome 🙂

  10. MFatouros

    I love One For the Murphy’s. I am entering for my elementary school where I am the librarian. I love handing your book to the student who I know will find a connection to Carley. Your book always makes me think of one teacher in particular and I always say to her, “you are the Mrs. Murphy to so many.”. Thank you for an amazing story that is treasur to discover

    • Oh, thank you! I am always so touched to hear of “real” Mrs. Murphys out there in the world. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had one. 🙂 Kudos to you as well–you sound like a hero to many, too.

  11. As a school librarian, I have fibbed to kids who have lost books. I have been known to say the book was returned miraculously! Just this week a student came in to tell me his book was lost. He is going to school under an assumed name and is in protective custody because his dad is a bad guy. I told him the book had been returned (even though it had not). He was SO happy to get to check out a new book. It made my day.
    My book club and I get to Skype with you in February, so if I am lucky enough to receive the hero pack, the items will go to the kids who are in the book club Skyping with you. Thank you for your accessibility as an author! It means a lot!

    • Yes, I have told small fibs to protect kids. I think lots of teachers that love them do. 🙂 Yes! We are going to Skype in February–and I can’t wait!! 🙂

  12. I never had to steal books thanks to a bedroom bookshelf that was overflowing with The Berenstain Bears, then Goosebumps, and then Hardy Boys books – to name a few. Apparently my current classroom copy of the book has some sort of waiting list that I don’t know about because ever since I book-talked it in the fall, it has moved between readers every few weeks without ever making it back to the shelves. Thanks for the great novel that has obviously nestled itself next to the hearts of many readers!

    • Yes, you were a lucky kid to have all of those books. My kids have a ton, too. Thank you so much for booktalking One for the Murphys. SO happy to know it is making the rounds. 🙂

  13. Hi Lynda, It’s me @litcoachlou – Literacy coach and book whisperer to K-5 students at Buxton Center Elementary School in Buxton Maine. As I told you on Twitter, I was ABOUT to read your book this weekend but had to give it up to a 5th grader that “needed” it more than me. I know I will get it eventually. I would love, love, love to win this hero package. I have just introduced Skyping to my staff, so this would be especially fun but getting more books to put into the hands of my kiddos is what it’s always about. And, I have to admit – I adore book bling too – ha ha!
    Super idea – hmmm – did I ever pinch a book? I don’t think so but I know I paid plenty of late fines at the library. 🙂

    • Yes–I am so happy that you gave the book up to the girl who “had nothing to read.” I’ll be hoping that she likes meeting Carley. 🙂 Yes–Skype is amazing. I have been having a ball with it. 🙂 And, who doesn’t love book blink?! I mean, c’mon!

  14. I can’t say enough good things One For the Murphys. I loved so many characters. I can think of several students that would really benefit from reading this book because their home lives resemble that of Carley. They need to know that it’s okay for someone to love them – and it’s okay for them to trust others. I only have one copy of the vol at the moment, and I would love to be able to share it with my 6th graders. Usually when I book talk a book, I have a large waiting list, and I know that the list for this book will be enormous. The students will connect. I can’t say thank you properly for creating such a beautiful, inspiring story.

    • Well, I think you did a wonderful job thanking me! What else could I ask for? Thanks for your enthusiasm for and support of One for the Murphys–I really appreciate it. 🙂

  15. Becky Wilson

    I would love to win this Hero package to share with my fifth graders. I recently read One for the Murphys and cried through the end. I could not put it down. It is on my “to buy” shelf on Goodreads. I really want my kids to meet Carley.

    • Aw, thanks so much, Becky–glad you enjoyed it. I student taught in fifth grade–still have wonderful memories of that class. I’ve entered you in the contest, so you may have some copies to share soon! 🙂

  16. I’m a mom with two kids (5th and 8th grades) in one district and works as a professional aide in a fifth-grade class in a district one town over. I’d love to donate a copy of One Murphys. What a wonderful giveaway.

  17. I’d like to enter for a hero of mine…..my librarian at my school….Travis Jonker. 🙂 That is awesome that you were touched by Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing! I also wrote a nerdy post on that book! It was also a life changing book for me!
    I love this post! 🙂 And you know I think you and your book are wonderful!

    • Okay, then! Mr. Travis Jonker has been entered! (Travis is the name of one of my favorite charaters in Alphabet Soup. Maybe good luck?–For me, I mean. 🙂 Really, Niki? You worte about Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? My first read of that is STILL so vivid. Amazing, the power of books. And, thank you–I think you’re wonderful, too. 🙂

  18. I love this post. When I was teaching high school, I always had a rther large in-classroom library culled from garage and yard sales. I nagged at the kids to return the books, but some invariably disappeared, and I was okay with that. I knew the books had found a more important home. I received a Facebook message a couple years ago from one of my former students who ‘fessed up to having one of my books — one she had fallen in love with and couldn’t bear to return. What should she do? I told her to enjoy it and share it with someone else who might like it. I am entering your contest in the name of Kristel Kamrar, my grandson’s sixth-grade teacher at Rocklin Academy in Rocklin, California. If her name is drawn, please let me know and I’ll get the address for you. I know she would love to win this wonderful package. Thanks for running this giveaway.

    • “I nagged at the kids to return the books, but some invariably disappeared, and I was okay with that. I knew the books had found a more important home.” Oh, I love this–the mark of a caring teacher! Thanks, Rosi! I have entered Ms. Kamrar in the giveaway. 🙂

  19. Leah Whitford

    I too must confess to pretending to have lost a book – for the very same reason. Caddie Woodlawn got under my skin. I wanted that book so desperately and I didn’t grow up in a family where we often bought books. Maybe a Scholastic order once in a blue moon , but I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to add Caddie to my shelf. So I lied to Message. Francoviak and told her that I couldn’t find it. I had to wash a lot of dishes to repay my mom. Now I have a daughter who feels the same way about books. She cried when she finished One for the Murphy’s. She cried. I love that she has seen the power that books can have. Thank you for bring a part of that discovery. (I am a former teacher, now elementary principal)

  20. I, myself, never “stole” a book. My mom’s a first grade teacher and reading was our favorite thing to do together. Books were everywhere, even when money was tight. After teaching eighteen years, many books have gone missing and I can tell when it’s lost or it’s “lost”. I agree…stealing is bad…but knowing a book has a good home with someone who loves it makes me happy. Thanks for the post! Loved it and I LOVE One for the Murphy’s. It’s one of my new favorites…now that I think of it…I haven’t seen it in the classroom library in quite a while. Hmmmmm…..

  21. Kate Narita

    Hi Lynda,

    I’m so glad your book is doing well and I really appreciate the fact that you came up to me at the NE SCBWI conference last year to tell me how much you appreciated my supportive comments when your book first came out.

    In addition to being a SCBWI member, I teach third through eighth grade ELL students. I would love your heroine pack because the ELL classrooms hardly have any materials. We don’t receive the same budgets as classroom teachers. Many of my students have had tough lives. They come from war torn countries, have lost parents, and/or suffer from poverty in the United States. In addition to facing those challenges, each day they have to figure out how to navigate an unfamiliar culture and language.

    Thanks for considering my ELL students and all the teachers, students, and foster kids out there who would benefit from access to One for the Murphys.

    Best wishes,
    Kate Narita

  22. Victoria Warneck

    Oh Lynda…I love this post so much! I stole a copy of SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE from the mobile book fair when in was in kindergarten. I had money to pay for it. I stood at the counter for ages, too shy to get the attention of the gabbing moms who were supposed to be helping us complete our purchases. Then it was time for our class to leave, and I simply could not leave that incredible book behind. I got in line and shuffled out with it, hoping that someone would ask me if I needed to pay for it but no one did. Thirty-seven years later, I’m still trying to make amends with the universe! And yet, that is now my goal: to write a picture book that a child would steal rather than leave behind! 😉

    I am entering Deborah Hall, the librarian at Foster School in Hingham, Massachusetts.

  23. I haven’t stolen anything, but I know what it means to have a book stolen from my 7th grade classroom library. One for the Murphys has been prominently displayed on my shelves since I asked for it for Christmas, but I keep taking it off and loaning it out to kids who don’t yet know about it (even though I did booktalk it back in October!). It seems to take only one to two days for it to come back, with kids saying it was so good, they just read it in one or two sittings! Right now I have an actual library book that a child has at home (lost), and I wonder if I should be checking books out on behalf of my students. I think I still should, even though that one (How to Write and Publish Children’s Books) might be a hefty price…

    Thank you for this post – it will help me to not be AS upset when a book goes missing (what, maybe 4 each year?), and I love the heart you put into One for the Murphys! I tweeted you months ago, but I’ll tell you again – my favorite part is when the parents are dancing to Elvis… My husband and I dance to “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” in the kitchen quite often…!

  24. Kathy schmidt

    I LOVE your confession – and it makes me wonder if some of my “lost” books have gone that way too! I try and give away books at my school (Im a k-5 school librarian) as much as I can because I feel like every kid needs to have their own books at home – my own kids (16,15 and 12) take for granted the number of books in our house (lots!)

  25. gillis

    “Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack” was the first book I “forgot” to return to the library. I would still have that copy now (providing that guilt hadn’t caught up with me at some point) but my older sister found it in our closet and told our mother on me. We didn’t own books in our house, all of our books came from the school or town library so trying to keep one would have been like keeping a secret pet. But how I loved that book! It was so different from anything I’d ever read. I hated/loved Dinky! She was me. And she wasn’t me. She knew what it was like to “not be seen” by people in your life and though she was a work of fiction, she helped me feel “seen.”

    This year in my 5th grade classroom I seem to have “lost” more books than usual, mostly graphic novels because I tend to only purchase one copy of those – they are pricey! We can usually absorb the loss of a novel because I try to get 2 copies of those, especially when they come out in paperback. I was thrilled to see that One for the Murphys was in this month’s Scholastic order. I’ll be picking up a few more copies there!

  26. What a wonderful post and idea. I remember feeling so happy when I’d heard someone had stolen my first book. All I did was send a new one to that teacher. But you have gone above and beyond in a fabulous way! As a fellow author who also came to be because of Judy Blume, I would like to enter on behalf of Mrs. Phillips, my son’s former second grade teacher (now a 4th grade teacher). She saw past my son’s daydreaming and silliness and realized he was actually a gifted learner. (Even my husband and I were surprised by this.) Now he’s a junior in high school, in many honors classes, and pursuing his love of acting. Still daydreaming, still silly, but also an inquisitive and engaged student. By the way, I’m doing a Random Acts of Kindness contest to celebrate the release of my new book, and what you’re doing would definitely qualify you to enter. Check it out on my blog!

  27. Rachel Henry

    I must confess that I can connect with your ten year old self as I still feel echoes of my fourth grade pangs of guilt after let’s say “never returning” The Secret Garden to Mrs. O’Keefe’s classroom library. I initially chose it because it was worth a lot of AR points, but then found that I couldn’t part with the mysterious and magical world hidden between those covers.

    As a first year teacher of fifth and sixth grade students this year, I have spent hundreds of dollars and asked for donations to fill my once-sparse classroom library. Even after labeling, color coding, stamping and alphabetizing each title, a secret part of me would almost be honored if one of my students “accidentally” never returned a book. I teach in an urban school where 2/3 of my students are of color and do not always have access to books. In talking with my students more, I can see that they often are unable to relate to some of the characters and events in novels because they have not had those experiences themselves. While it is a sad reality to recognize, I know that One for the Murphys could be the perfect connection to literature for a lot of my students. They need to know that they are not alone in their struggles and that books can be a great escape, counselor and friend throughout their lives.

    We have also been working with the Ohio Writing Project in conjunction with the National Writing Project this year and my students have spent a lot of time reading like writers and writing like readers. I know that they would enjoy being able to speak with a “real author” and discover how other writers craft their pieces.

    Thank you so much for this offer!

  28. Patrick Andrus

    Loved the entry. Love the book. I am reading it to my class and they so love it. Such a powerful novel! Of course I would also love free stuff!

  29. I love this post, Lynda. I don’t know if I ever purposefully “lost” a book, but I do remember vividly being lost in them. One distinct memory is of crying my heart out when the older Pevensie children were told they were too old to return to Narnia. I was crushed.

    Books have been friends, enemies, and confidants. Sharing a character’s happiness and struggles helped shape who I am today.

  30. Very sweet post, Lynda. I admire your honesty. I’m not as brave as you to confess a book “borrowing” experience. And I taught 4th grade for 35 years and have many examples where books touched lives. Having read One for the Murphy’s, I know how many lives it will most certainly touch. I’m a retired teacher now but would love to share your gift with a very special librarian in my former school.

  31. Thank you ALL for these lovely, lovely comments. I wish that I had dozens of Hero Packs. 🙂 I wish I could add individual responses now but Alphabet Soup (book #2) awaits. See you later! Again–THANK YOU!

  32. Hello Lynda, It’s been another gray, snowy day here in northern Michigan but sitting here reading your post was almost as if you popped in for a chat over a cup of hot chocolate, friend to friend. I think that’s the power of your writing, it’s so natural, so real that it reaches out and yes…lingers with your readers. One for the Murphys is one of the most life-changing books I read this summer. I would love to share the gift of a Hero Pack with the students in my school.

    Thanks for this post and opportunity.

  33. Thanks for your post, Lynda. Stolen books always frustrate me, but part of me is happy that a child has a book–they probably wouldn’t have stolen it if they could get one on their own. My only wish is that students would just ask me for the book–often I would just give it to them.

    I loved One for the Murphys–I just ordered it from the Scholastic book order and I can’t wait to share it with students. Good luck to me on your prize pack! :^)

  34. We have two copies of One for the Murphy’s that have not been on the shelf due to constant checking out but perhaps they too have gone missing for other reasons. Kids love this book and so do I.

  35. When I read One for the Murphy’s, I had to put it down a few times to collect myself/wipe the tears so I could see to continue reading! I immediately passed it to my husband to read upon finishing it! One of the things that struck me most as I read, was Carley’s desire to belong.

    Books often disappear from my classroom library. I realize that sometimes its because someone just didn’t bother to return it, or it disappeared under some teenager’s bed, but I like to imagine that they kept it because it spoke to them in some way and they felt they needed it. It’s okay. I replace. You need to be able to keep those “friends” near.

  36. IN a way that’s neat that your book touched a child that much. I remember being tempted to “lose” a book. I’ll enter for my middle school librarian! laurapauling at yahoo dot com.

    Off to tweet! And Facebook.

  37. I don’t remember ever keeping a library book forever, but I have kept them too long. I kept a biography of Betsy Ross and one of Maria Tallchief for one full school year. The teachers and librarians were so irritated, but I just couldn’t bring them back. Thanks for reminding me of this. I would love to win this. I took Carley to the mountains with me over the summer and read from 10pm until I was finished. I cried so hard, I had to take breaks. You brought her and everyone she connected with to life and I thank you for that.

  38. Over the years I have always known the books that spoke to my students the most were often the same ones that disappeared. I wish students wouldn’t steal the books but I agree that I want them to connect like that to the stories. I view it as a donation to their families.

  39. Lynda,
    I’m a never married teacher who adopted my two sons from the foster care system, so of course ONE FOR THE MURPHYS made me cry more than once . Can’t even count how many books have been “stolen” from my library. I’m always glad when a kid loves a book so, so, so much that they feel like they have to own it. I will gladly replace it!

  40. Hmmm….now I wonder how many lost books are actually “stolen” in my library?

  41. Would love to win this for the Title I elementary school library where I work, Lynda! We already have one copy of OFTM that I ordered last spring for our library, but it’s constantly checked out. I handed it to one 5th grade girl who had loved SURVIVING THE APPLEGATES, and when I saw her later in the library, I asked her how OFTM was going. She said, “Oh! I’m loving it!” and smiled. Then her expression turned serious and said, “Just finished that part with the mom and the boyfriend…” The girl took a breath and shook her head. “I think Carley’s gonna make it, though.” She started to nod. “I really do.” It was obvious that she connected with Carley and, like I did, got the feeling that Carley was real as the story unfolds.

    Will definitely tweet this and also post on the librarian list serves in my state and district.

  42. Sheila May-Stein

    I often believe that library books that don’t come back to my school library have found their *real and true home with kids who keep them. And this doesn’t have to be a loss: it can be an honest good that libraries and librarians do. I’m so glad you found a book you loved so much as a child.

  43. I love this book so much. And, we just got a student in our school that is with a foster mom…so many parrallels it is crazy! I the foster mom my copy of the book and told her that she is a hero ❤

  44. Jason Lewis

    I’m a fifth grade teacher to two classrooms (54 students) who love reading! We love reading, discussing, and sharing good books. We’ve read Wonder, Ivan, Poppy, and now Because of Mr. Terupt and the students can get enough of these books. One for the Murphys is next! I just read this book and I can’t wait to read it to my students! I know they will “Eat it up!”

  45. Lucy Barnes

    I’m 1st yr librarian and don’t have this bk in our library. Would love to have it in our collection.

  46. This Is Fantastic! thank you for sharing Your Story Of How Important Library Books Were To You As A Child. As A School Librarian, I Feel Inspired When I Think About All The Reasons Books Might Become Stolen Or “Lost.” I Always Tell My StudentS That It’s Much More Important To Finish A Book Than To Return It On Time…And That “Finishing” Doesn’t Always Just Mean Getting To The End. Sometimes Books Have More To Say To Us After That, Like The CaY Did For You. Now I Apologize ForThe Wonky Capitalization here…Typing This On My Phone Using A Twitter App Browser Is A Fail. I Loved One For The Murphys!

  47. This week, as an elementary librarian, I interacted with several children who were having to move due to economic reasons. It brought me great joy to take them to our back library storage area and give them books they could write their names inside and KEEP. Thanks for your inspiring books. We have many foster children in our Title I PreK-Grade 5 school. I’m currently doing respite foster care on weekends. Library work and foster care bring so much meaning and purpose into my life.

    Margo Cub Run Elementary Library Penn Laird, VA

  48. Jen

    I love this piece. Worked so hard to find a book for a kiddo in my class all fall – she just wouldn’t read. It was your book that she finally loved and read in two days. She has a genre now and is reading up a storm. Thank you!!!

  49. I am a middle school librarian and have books “lost” all the time. Some students even ask me if they can buy the book before it goes “missing”. I love it!! There is nothing better than helping a student find that Just Right Book! That is when the true love of reading begins. I was a late-bloomer – high school – but once I started I couldn’t put books down (to the dismay of my teachers who had to kick me out of class because I didn’t hear the bell).

  50. One of the most important things about working with little patrons is fostering a love of reading. Installing the confidence in each one tha no matter what “level” they read on, the READ is more important than the level read. To inspire little patrons takes the help of many folks…including authors. Author spotlights are some of my little patrons favorite moments with me in the Library Media Center. To actually “meet” with an author is simply a blessing and something they would never forget!!!!! Life changing moments don’t present themselves very often so, ANY chance to “win” a visit with a real love author for my little patrons is AMAZING!!!! Being a teacher for 18 years (2 of those as the LMS) has granted me moments of pure joy I will never forget and my little patrons make me feel like a rock star daily!! They deserve to feel as special as they make me feel!!! Your inspiring Skype visit would catapult me Into a whole nutha level!!! Thanks for what you do!!!!! Here’s to all the heroes and the folks that encourage and support them!! Simply Humbled, Kim

  51. Jennifer Atkinson

    I love this! I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I would devour books. I used to read late into the night and during class. I never stole a book from school or a store, however, I did take many childhood favorites from my parents’ house in order to share them with students. I took the bookshelf too. My mother and brother weren’t too happy about it, but they understood why it was so important for me to share books I loved as a kid with my students. I now teach 5th grade and my students love to point out my childhood signature or note from a relative inside different books.
    I’m constantly looking for ways to engage, inspire, and excite students with an amazing story. I love this idea. And now I need to go find The Cay and read it. Thanks for sharing your confession. 🙂

  52. Brenda Hoffman

    As a librarian, I do try to get books that students would love to read- princess, superheros, and I have middle school students that it is hard to pick books appropriate that they would enjoy. I never thought about the foster care; I am interest in at least getting a copy of the book. The tee shirt is nice, and a reminder to mindful of the example we set.

  53. Mrs. H-T

    I have spent many Saturday mornings making garage sale stops to find books to add to my classroom library…and knowing that some of the books that I add to my shelves will go home with a student and never come back. I also know some if them may not have any other books at home or people who will help them to get to the library to borrow them. If a kid finds a book they love so much they don’t want to bring it back….well, that gives me a reason to stop at a few more garage sales I guess! Thank you for sharing this experience!

  54. Wow! What an amazing group of kid-oriented people here. My wish is that I could have you all over to my house for a book swap party! (where I wouldn’t take more than my share 🙂

    I am so, so grateful for each and every one of you and all that you are doing for kids. Trust me–even the smallest thing you do for a child can still have an impact years later. Kindnesses sit on children’s shoulders a long time. Thank you all.

    I am working on my next book today but will be checking in here periodically. Such moving, humbling, inspiring posts here. Can’t thank you all enough.

    Heroes–each and every one of you. xo

  55. I don’t remember “holding on” to a book. But, I’ve seen it happen frequently since I became an ES librarian about ten years ago.I’m in a title one school with a majority population from other countries and very few books at home. It happens several times a year with the most popular titles i.e. graphic novels, pop biographies, etc. Once a parent, called me to find out the amount of a check she should write for one of the “Royal Diaries” books because her daughter wanted to keep it. I gave up trying to explain, accepted the check and reordered the book. 🙂 Anything to encourage the love of books and reading!

    I’ve never read “The Cay”…but, will this year. My absolute favorite book in childhood. Lois Lenski’s “Indian Captive”. I used to run around the back yard wearing an improvised Seneca costume and a basket attached to my back. After my dad died I found out that at least one of my paternal great grandmothers was a Mohawk.

  56. Amy Duncan

    I am a third grade teacher at Murphy Elementary…perfect right? This year I have taken on the task of trying NOT to get more books for my classroom library. Instead, I am attempting to grow the at home personal libraries of my students. Every month, 28 of my kiddos have been going home with two new (or almost new) books to add to their collection. This is made possible with the help of bonus points from Scholastic, donations, book swaps, and plenty of trips to The Salvation Army. We even made bookends out of donated stuffed animals by filling them with gravel. To date, 280 books have found a new home on my student’s shelves. It is my hope that they take pride in ownership, display them proudly, and ultimately…fall in love.

  57. Reading has always been an integral part of my life. I have carried a book with me everywhere I have go for as long as I can remember. Thanks to authors like you my love of reading continues. I have recommended this book to pretty much everyone I know. I teach 4th grade and have book talked it to my class, my teaching partners, librarian, and friends! Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing is my back to school read aloud-I love showing my class my “original” copy from when I was in 4th grade! I look forward to your next book! It is a pleasure to read your writing!

  58. Spartanlynne

    Wow. Most amazing give-away ever. This was in my top three books of summer reading. I am so moved by the story and the power of the characters. The world needs more Mrs. Murphys. Thank you for your amazing book.

  59. Susie Highley

    Such a nice story you shared about The Cay. I adored One for the Murphys, and am amazed at the generosity of your prize package!

  60. Kelly Mulhern

    I am a teacher and as much as I want to enter on behalf of myself I am entering for my middle school librarian. I know she has entered as well. I believe however she is more deserving for the heroic literacy work she does daily. I never as a child had a librarian or teacher inspire me with books. I was an average reader, but on my own accord. Fortunately, in my adult professional life I am lucky to have a librarian that puts wonderful books in my hands and connects with a wealth of students each day through books. She is my professional hero for inspiring our students and putting One for the Murphys in my hands this past summer! Good luck to all in contest!

  61. Love love LOVE your post! I feel the same way ever time a book comes up “missing” in my classroom library- keep reading it is my silent prayer. I would love to win your great package and really want to wear the shirt- with a cape!

  62. tammy

    I love your book One for the Murphys. I am giving it to my daughter who is a social worker and who works with Carlys everyday. I am a 4th grade teacher in IA. My class loves to skype with other classrooms and suthors. The package that you are giving away is amazing and even if I don’t win Thank you for offering this great give away. Can’t wait to read more of your amazing stories.

  63. I get aggravated when my books go “missing”. But hearing your tale reminds me that they may be doing more good as contraband in a kid’s hands than available on my book shelf.

    Thanks for writing a stealable book.

  64. I’m getting my master’s in library science, but I’ll enter on behalf of my awesome friend Shyla, who is getting her master’s in school counseling and is a hero everyday to the kids she teaches math. Also, I work for Scholastic Book Fairs warehouse, and we’re being given a copy of One for the Murphys next week as our Season Kick Off book gift. Can’t wait to read it.

  65. Also, I really want one of those shirts! Can they be purchased in 3X somewhere?

  66. Tenille Shade

    Carley will live in my memory for a lifetime. Because I was raised by my grandparents, I know what it feels like to long for a biological mother’s affection. I show up at my school each day hoping to be some kid’s hero. Teachers saved my life, and now I have a chance to give back.

  67. Jackie Behney

    Am entering for myself because i’ve not read your book. Now that I am teaching first grade I rarely find that my books go missing and I miss that aspect of teaching. That and I no longer read as many novels. I love The Cay too and recall that my last year in middle school, a young woman asked if I could find an extra copy for her.

  68. Melissa Nelson

    I am a fourth grade teacher with a pretty expansive classroom library…let’s just say I’m addicted to Half Price Books! I have an open door policy in my room. Anyone can come in at any time to take a book. You don’t need to ask and you can take as many as you want. Every June when I put my books away there are always 15-20 missing. Some people have told me that I should make my students fill out a check-out form for the books they are reading, but I don’t want to police them. In September 5-7 books will come back and the rest are gone for good. It doesn’t bother me though because I know that whoever took my books, is reading them. I also know that if they ever came back and told me that they had a taken a book, I would tell them to keep it. I can afford to buy books and love doing it. Some students in my class can’t and if pilfering my plentiful shelves are a way to keep reading. Then I’ll keep turning a blind eye.

  69. Rebecca Baughman

    I’m a 1st year middle school librarian and I’m loving almost every minute of it. The only part I don’t like is knowing many of the children have not so great home lives. I think and hope that reading can take them away from the worries of home even if for a short time. It would be wonderful to have freebies to hand out to these kids.

  70. Christine

    I’d like to enter your contest on behalf of a friend of mine who is a Middle School librarian. While this would be a great treat for my classroom, she is an amazing librarian who makes wonderful connections with kids.

  71. Patrice Lambusta

    I am a librarian at an urban school with a population that includes 65% free and reduced lunch and a number of children in foster care. I use novels as a window and a mirror for my students’ lives. I believe novels have the ability to create great empathy in our children. I initiated a One Book, One School program using novels as the focal point. So far, we have successfully read and discussed Bystander by James Preller, Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, and Schooled by Gordan Korman. If my school wins this contest I would like to start a book club culminating with a discussion with you via skype
    As far as stealing books is concerned, they can be replaced. 🙂

  72. Thanks for being my hero today. I am a high school librarian who is always trying to inspire students to do good things for others. Heavens knows, those teenagers suffer from “all-about-me-syndrome.” Thanks for all YOU have done to inspire kids! P.S. I do have a cape…but I try to be more subtle : )

  73. Thank you, thank you, ALL!

    Under normal circumstances, I would happily answer every message right away. However, I am working hard on my next book. 🙂 However, I wanted to check-in and tell you how delighted I am with all of these wonderful comments! The grand prize choice will be chosen randomly with an app. But it will be HARD to only name one winner. Hmmmm….thinking there may have to be a few runner-up prizes (smaller) as well. 🙂

    Again–thanks to all of you heroes who are touching lives every. Single. Day.

  74. Rebecca Reynolds

    Lynda~Who doesn’t love a free gift pack and when it includes books?? What could be better than that? Not much! I really enjoyed your book and thought that it was one that could be so relateable to kids of many ages and instances. I think it is important to continue to put books into the hands of our youth. Like your teacher did, mine did many years ago as well. It is because of finding that “right” book that I continue my love of reading today in my own classroom. By the way, I grew up and adored Judy Blume. I learned a lot from her over the years, lol!! Thank you for the great opportunity to win this prize!

    • Rebecca Reynolds

      This is the correct email, Lynda for when I win~sorry about the first.

  75. Melissa Guerrette

    I so appreciate your painting of teachers (and other promoters of book-love) as heroes. Friends/colleagues and I have been reminding one another that our daily actions are heroic and a BIG deal to kiddos who need us, because it’s easy to be overwhelmed! I am grateful to authors for sharing their masterpieces with our evolving readers and doing things (like you have with this giveaway) to make them real and tangible people in the eyes of students. Thank you for going the extra distance!

  76. Pamela Berdou

    I joke that I have a book thief in my room. I know who she is, as her mother sends back what she finds at home monthly. Part of me wants to be mad; those are books that I bought with my money and she has no right to take them without permission. But then the reader in me takes over: she loves to read! It’s my job as her reading teacher to foster that love. So she takes books without checking them out. She devours them and often rereads her favorites. I haven’t given her One for the Murphys yet. You see, my book thief was in foster care and is very sensitive about it. I know she would relate to Carley so I just drop hints that she would like it. I know soon enough it will be missing from my shelf too!

  77. Pingback: Links Galore « Annie Cardi

  78. Amanda McClusky

    What a great story and way to give back to the community! I hope I win!

  79. My copy of One for the Murphy’s has gone missing…I’m hoping temporarily! I had several readers like it so much, they chose it for their book club outside of school (these are fifth graders). I also devoured Judy Blume as a young student and also really enjoyed The Cay…it’s just thrilling to know that books are still being consumed by readers of all ages. Thank you for sharing your story telling gifts!

  80. I often have books that become “missing” from my classroom library. Some eventually trickle back in in a variety of ways, but most do not. And yes, sometimes it is a bit frustrating when a book is taken on purpose or it finds its way under a student’s bed to be forgotten about and collect dust. Other students can’t read it because I don’t have another copy and don’t buy another copy in time to replace it. But, for those who take books because that book is meaningful to them n some way… Keep it. Love it. Cherish it. And for those books collecting dust bunnies everywhere, hopefully they will be picked up by eager hands one day.

    I’m currently reading your book to one of my 6th grade blocks. We are only six chapters in but their conversations are awesome to listen into. They are burning with questions! Thank you for writing this book. 🙂 and for this awesome giveaway!

  81. Patti Karam

    Loved your confession, understand completely! As an elementary school librarian I deal with ‘lost books’ every year but for a number of my students who are in transitional settings these books represent an escape. Although I may beg on the outside ‘look one more time’ I take comfort in knowing they have something as special as a book.

  82. Dear Lynda,
    I loved your heartbreaking book! I recommended it to my friend that works in foster care. One of my students checked it out and I asked her about it when I saw her today. She said she LOVED it!

    Thank you for writing! Jennifer

  83. .

    Well, I really wish that I had dozens of Grand Prizes. I must admit that it was just TOO HARD to go with only one winner, so I just kept spinning (the app that chose)—and so I’ve named some extra winners. 

    If you are a winner, please E-mail me at LyndaMullalyhunt@gmail.com with “Giveaway Winner” in the subject line. Please give me both your on-line name and your real name. 

    Please include your school’s mailing address (if you’ve won something to be mailed such as a signed book) ASAP.

    If you have won a Skype visit, please e-mail

    (1) some available dates and times
    (2) your name,
    (3) your school’s name, address, and link,
    (4) the grade level(s) of students I’ll be visiting with
    (5) approx number of students who will Skype.
    (6) your Skype name.

    You must redeem this Skype BEFORE the end of this school year.

    (If you don’t have all of this info—don’t sweat it. But, please send me an e-mail to let me know that you know that you’ve won and that you will send info later.)


    So, without further adieu…

    The winners ARE:

    GRAND PRIZE Winner—wins all of the items pictured in blog is—KARLA DUFF!

    MINI-GRAND PRIZE Winners (Signed hardcover, bookmarks, SKYPE visit) – (1) Leah Whitford, (2) Margie Culver, (3) Mrs. H-T (4) Niki Barnes

    MINI-MINI-GRAND PRIZE Winner (Signed book and bookmarks) (1) Tenile Shade, (2) Carol Wilcox, (3) Patrice Lambusta, (4) Vicky VanFradenburgh (5) Mary Alise Herrera

    FULL AUTHOR SKYPE VISIT only (45 minutes) (1) Rebecca Webster, (2) HMTigger, (3) Rachel Henry, (4) Joy Kirr

    CONGRATULATIONS to the winners!!! I really am sorry everyone couldn’t win. I’ll do other giveaways 😉

  84. Woot! Woot! I’ll get students together that have read the book and will be reading the book so we can have a Sjype visit some time this year! I’m sooooo excited, and the kids will be, too! THANK YOU!

  85. I am so EXCITED! I will let you know as soon as your amazing books get “lost” – I’m sure it won’t be long after we Skype and share. Thank you for making my job easier by writing amazing stories. I can’t wait to wear the shirt- and I’m adding a cape…@teacher6th

  86. Mary Alise Herrera

    I am thrilled to be a “mini-mini grand prize winner” and own my very own copy of One for the Murphys. Yay me and Yay Lynda for being so generous!

  87. Heather Blevins

    I am a 4th grade teacher in an area where I frequently have foster kids in my class. I had a foster child in my class last year as well as a precious girl this year. I worry so deeply about these kids, and as they leave me, I send them with a bag of books to keep at the end of the school year. I know that I can offer them very little, but the characters in an inspiring book will last them a lifetime, I just finished my copy of One for the Murphys today, and I know that I am too late to enter the contest, but I will be buying many copies to include in my bag of books for these students. I am also wondering if there are resources to purchase a class set of this book for a novel study and where I can purchase a shirt and wrist bands for my foster kids. Thank you for your work. I will forever be touched.

    • Hey, Heather! I am very touched by your note–thanks so much! I know that many teachers have purchased paperback copies through the Scholastic Book CLub to create classroom sets. Also, Penguin will be releasing a paperback version on May 16th. If you send me your address, I’ll send some wrist bands for you. At the moment I am out of shirts, but will let you know when I have more in stock. 🙂

      Thank you, also, for your kind word about Murphys. I am so grateful that the book seems to be helping kids. As I ventured out to attempt to get published, that was the dream 🙂

      THANK YOU, Heather, for the work that you are doing with those fourth graders. I am so, so grateful that there are people like you in the world.

  88. Hi Lynda,
    I just happened upon this post and wanted to say that I understand your dilemma as a child who wanted to keep a book. I also understand those children who perhaps stole your book from the librarians. When I was a kid, I “stole” four books because I wanted to own books so badly. I blogged about this almost exactly one year ago. I wanted to share it with you if you are interested in reading it. http://www.writersdolaundrytoo.com/2012/04/why-i-buy-books.html

    Take care,
    Linda J.

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