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 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.