Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #2: A Thank You Letter–Albeit Late


Dear Mr. Christy,

This is Teacher Appreciation Day and so you are on my mind.

I wish I could stand next to your grey, steel desk just as I did as a sixth grader and tell you all about the things that have happened. I wish I could tell you that I got the most miraculous call five years ago from my editor, Nancy Paulsen, at Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin who expressed her excitement at my first book being published. I took the call in the parking lot of a grocery store and, upon hanging up, stood with my fists in the air like Rocky. The ride I have taken since with Carley Connors, the main character of that first book, One for the Murphys, has been a dream-I-never-knew-I-had come true.

I know if I actually could tell you about all that’s happened and how different things are for me these days, you wouldn’t cheer loudly. You wouldn’t exclaim and make a big deal. I think you’d take a breath and look me dead in the eye and say that you aren’t surprised. Just as you did when the eleven-year-old me pulled off something unexpected.

Remember how you gave me my first writing award for a poem? That poem now appears in my second book, Fish in a Tree. It was a terrible poem. I knew it at the time as Icover with frame know it now. It was not award worthy but you deemed it so as an excuse to celebrate me–the child. Not the poet. In Fish in a Tree, Ally Nickerson is offended by this but in real life, I took my seat and watched you go on with the day feeling grateful that you’d been so nice to me. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget what you did and I’ll never forget when I figured out why you did it.

I remember the kids in the class who wrote you notes and drew you pictures. How they gave them to you with fanfare. I never once did that. Even at the end of the school year, I never thanked you for all you had done. As an adult looking back, I wish I had said something but I don’t think I had the words then. I was just so…well, ironically perhaps I don’t have the words even now. But one thing was for sure. I didn’t want to leave your room. Most kids are thrilled to see summer come. I was not.

I think you knew that sometimes the kids who needed you the most were the ones who didn’t make a fuss. I assure you that I was quietly grateful and carried the things you did and said into middle school, high school, college, grad school, and right into the editorial offices at Penguin Publishing.

As an adult looking back, I wish I had written you a thank you note, though. I want you to know that I’ve finally written it. It’s 288 pages long and entitled FISH IN A TREE. It’s a love letter to you—to the teacher who first saw me. Who saved me. And all other teachers like you.

Thank you, Mr. Christy. The world—certainly my world—is far better because you were here.

6th grade me with frame   Love,

Lynda Mullaly










The FANTASTICO winning TEACHER winner will receive:

  • A signed hardcover
  • An audiobook (CD set) because Mr. Christy was such a great listener (Carley in Murphys notices that “silent” and “listen” have the same letters)
  • Wooden nickels (It’s okay to take them…)
  • Two lanyards (Be someone’s hero & Great minds don’t think alike)
  • Be someone’s hero/GOT GRIT? bracelets
  • Fish in a Tree t-shirt (This is a med but I will do my best to accommodate desired shirt size)
  • A Skype visit (If our schedules don’t work together I’ll record a video just for you and your kids!)
  • Guaranteed priority mailing within 24 hours of receipt of your school mailing address 🙂
  • Also – here is access to Teacher’s Guide for Fish in a Tree  http://www.penguin.com/static/images/yr/pdf/FishInATree_lessonplans_Final_LR.pdf

teacher giveaway

Please enter by leaving a comment below with your contact info (twitter handle or e-mail) and/or tweet/retweet with the hashtag #LMHListen . This will help me find your entry.  🙂

Winner will be chosen on Monday, May 11th. Please be able to provide a school mailing address, your grade level, and how many students you have.


FYI, here is yesterday’s giveaway:  https://lyndamullalyhunt.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/happy-teacher-appreciation-c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-i-o-n-day-1/

Categories: Fish in a Tree, Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), Teachers/Teaching, teaching | 121 Comments

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121 thoughts on “Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #2: A Thank You Letter–Albeit Late

  1. Would love to win this giveaway! beckflower@yahoo.com

  2. Laura Rahn

    Just finished the book – it is fantastic!! Can’t wait to share with my students. Would love to win treats for them also. 🙂 @rahnlaura

  3. This giveaway is fantastic! Would love to win! @michellem8 #LMHListen

  4. Erin Broderick

    Would love this package – students and teachers are LOVING this book! @Librarybrods

  5. Heather Jensen

    Lynda this is a beautiful thank you letter to Mr. Christy. I was very fortunate that a few summers ago I was contacted by the daughter of my most influential teacher who really cared about his students. She was putting together a memory book for a milestone birthday and wondered if I would like to contribute to it. My answer was of course, and I was able to write a thank you note for his memory book. I am so glad I had this opportunity! I just love that Fish in a Tree is a love letter to teachers. It truly feels that way as I read it! Thanks for the fantastic giveaway. @hmjensen31 #LMHListen

  6. Destiny Lawyer

    I should definitely write a letter like this to the teacher that inspired me.

    • Destiny Lawyer

      I forgot my contact info. Destiny Lawyer State Street School, 127 State Street, Windsor, VT 05089.

  7. What an amazing give away! I cried reading your letter. Hopefully every child has a Mr. Christy…or many of them! @jenbrittin

  8. Amy Romanowski

    You rock! Thanks for inspiring me!

  9. Linda Mitchell

    Oh, my…..these kinds of thank yous need to come with tissue alerts. Every year of my children’s ES years my gift to each teacher was a full thank you note of paragraphs of what I appreciated they were doing for my child. I spent from 2004 until 2013 writing notes to those teachers of my four kids….adds up to a lot of words. I loved the responses about how the teacher was saving the letter for one of “those days” because as a teacher, I sure have them….and someone’s belief in my and my attempt to make the world a better place with my gifts and skills as a teacher make ALL the difference. Thank you for leading the amazing charge of good that you are on. Keep going!

    Linda Mitchell

  10. I love your book. It was so inspiring.

  11. Kelly D Vorhis

    I would like to enter my colleague, Jake Simons, a 5th grade teacher at Woodview Elementary School, in Nappanee, Indiana. When I first read an ARC of FISH in a Tree, I immediately thought of Jake. He has not only positively impacted the lives of his students but the lives of his students’ families as well. He is one of those teachers students will be writing thank you letters to in the future. Our school system is blessed beyond measure to have him building characterand a love of learning and reading in our students and we, as colleagues are blessed to know and work alongside him yearly.

  12. Michael Long

    Very inspirational letter Lynda. Those bracelets look like fun!

  13. Lori Davis

    I would LOVE to win! Love your books!

  14. Judy noble

    Love your Book and your letter! I’ve made the time to write letters to all of our kids teachers who are great teachers. Some of my best days in my library are when I receive a letter/ card from a student. @libearylady

  15. Dawn

    I read your book while on maternity leave and couldn’t wait to get back into the classroom on Monday to put it into the hands of my students. They are in love with it, just as I am! It’s the talk of our sixth grade wing! Powerful story and message. A new read aloud for next year, too! I would be ecstatic to win this raffle! Thank you for writing such beautiful books!

    6th grade ELA teacher

  16. Russ Anderson

    What a great giveaway! Thanks for supporting teachers!
    @RAndersonFHS #LMHListen

  17. Amy Smith

    I’m so grateful that you had your Mr. Christie. I hope that every child gets one along the way. Thank you for sharing your story!

  18. Joe

    I pre-ordered Fish in A Tree to share with a very special former student of mine. Life has not been easy for this one and his LD makes it even harder. Watching him connect to the story was a gift. So thanks for that. I can’t wait to share it with my class next year for GRA 15. The swag would be nice too though. Thanks for always thinking of teacher. jcolombo@lincent.org

  19. Kat Lee

    Reading now as a read aloud would love to win for my kids! (Kml24@scasd.org)

  20. Nathalie

    As always, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. As a teacher, one of my very favorite things to receive are letters written by students or their parents. Not that long ago, after becoming a teacher I sent a couple notes to teachers I could track down to say thanks.

    Thanks for supporting teachers!

  21. Emily Bechstein

    I would love to win!! em_bechstein@yahoo.com

  22. Elin Goodwin

    Love your letter to Mr. Christy. What a wonderful giveaway – I’d have a bunch of thrilled 4th graders! 🙂

  23. What a wonderful tribute to Mr. Christy. I just read the chapter with your poem to my class. There was complete silence as they took in your reaction to Mr. Christy. My class would be so grateful to receive this giveawy. mouellette@ridgefield.org

  24. Heart….all heart! I believe that Mr. Christy is looking down, smiling, as he sees all of the lives your books have touched. Every child deserves teachers that celebrate them, that see the possibilities, that nurture the unknown dreams they have inside. I’m so thank that you did. And even more thankful that because of your stories, more will strive to be “Mr. Christy” for the students that walk through their doorways every single day.


  25. Love this book! Read aloud for a group of 7th/8th graders, and they love it. Thank you! @shpowell

  26. Anna Sedenka

    Holy cow Lynda!!! How exciting is this giveaway!


  27. Ruth

    Miss Poulin was my Mr. Christy! @rlyons2013

  28. Su Rodriguez

    Would love this gift for my class. So looking forward to sharing this book with my students next year with GRA!!

  29. Heather Fischer

    I just finished this book myself and started reading it to my class for the last read aloud of the year! Can’t wait for the Global Read Aloud next year!!!

  30. What a wonderful giveaway! My students are reading Fish in a Tree as part of a small, local Battle of the Books, and the buzz is loud! Thank you!


  31. Jen Malphy

    What a fantastic giveaway! Would love to win this to share with my students! @jmalphy

  32. Tammy Mitchell @MitchellOnMars

    Love Fish in a Tree and love this giveaway! Can’t wait to share the novel with my 5th graders! @MitchellOnMars

  33. Deb

    Would love to win! gemjamesd@aol.com

  34. Andrea Daly

    I LOVED reading this book! I can’t wait to read it with my students 🙂 andrea.daly@spschools.org

  35. I would love this wonderful set for my son’s amazing first-year 5th grade teacher!

  36. Dawn Zamora

    How exciting it would be to win! Good luck to everyone. Thank you for this opportunity:)

  37. This book sounds great. I can’t wait to read it this summer before the GRA fun begins 🙂

    Erin Wiley
    From http://www.wileyteaching.weebly.com

  38. Thank you for writing the letter that teachers rarely hear from the students we tend to love the most. The students we see the inner strength and beauty in even when they don’t. I teach a special education classroom, and this book felt like I was in my own classroom. The feelings you’re book evoked is why there’s no doubt this is my read next year for GRA.

  39. love @itsbeckie #LMHListen

  40. Pingback: Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N Day #3 | Be someone's hero. No cape required.

  41. Terrilyn Lebel

    Would love this give away. My curriculum director has told me how wonderful it is. Readingteachert@gmail.com

  42. Awesome giveaway! Me, me, me….please :).

    @joyastarr or @starraustin

  43. Jennifer Yantzi

    Loved the letter to your teacher! Can’t wait to read “FISH IN A TREE”.

  44. R. Brittingham

    Enjoyed hearing you speak @ NCTE last year! Looking forward to sharing your book with my 6th graders! rosiebritt@comcast.net

  45. Edie Crook

    Hurray! Would love to read to students @ediecrook

  46. Jaime Martin

    Thanks for sharing the lesson plans! I am sooooo looking forward to the GRA 15- and we would absolutely love a Skype chat with you! jamartin@cusd.claremont.edu, @JaimeMartin_pro

  47. Jana Reveles

    I haven’t had a chance to read this yet as I have been working on getting my Librarian’s credential. It is on my summer reading list!These products would make great gifts for students in my library!

  48. Mary Loversky

    Would love to win this! mloversky@dg58.org

  49. Inspiring story! I have one teacher who I would love to thank, Ms. Ince, my 9-10th grade English teacher. She taught me how to write an essay, and read real literature/classics. She was the most influential teacher for my academics in college. Thank you Ms. Ince, wherever you are! I can’t wait to read this book for the GRA 2015. @mrrossperris Thanks for the contest!

  50. Debbie

    What a beautiful letter to your teacher! Please enter me in the giveaway! I just finished reading the book and can’t wait to share it with my fifth graders.

  51. Laurie Levitt

    I am dyslexic and struggled in school until a teacher changed my life. I am now a school librarian and live for those magic moments of matching that perfect book with the child who needs to read it. Your books speak to kids, what a gift they are. Lauriereads@gmail.com

  52. Melanie Gray

    So sweet! I’ve been thinking all day about my favorite teachers and how I need to email them! Can’t wait to read your book. @_melaniegray

  53. Shelly Porter

    I can’t wait to share this book with my students during GRA 2015!

  54. Tami Reynolds

    Thanks for the opportunity to win! I was excited to see a former student (now teacher) above in the comments! Clearly, she is doing it right!

    I thoroughly enjoyed One for the Murphys, can’t wait to read Fish In a Tree and share it with my students!

  55. maridee ryan

    I can’t wait to read this book!

  56. Mo Daley

    Aalready started my read aloud and my students are loving it. Thanks for your beautiful writing!

  57. Caitlin Mullarky

    We loved Fish in A Tree in 5th grade this year!!

  58. Traci Murphy

    What a fun giveaway! #LMHListen


  59. Kiley Ogodogu

    Wishin’ for a win!!


  60. I loved FIAT so much as a teacher, but as a dyslexic student. I was Ally in elementary school, but I met my Mr. Christy in 4th Grade. Mrs. Newton took that same interest in me and truly turn my life around. I wish I knew where she was so that I could tell her what a difference she made in my life.

  61. Love your generosity and spirit to get kids excited about reading! @MreEReads

  62. What a gift you just gave. Hope I win and can excite my kids.

  63. GreenGirl

    This letter is fantastic! Would love to win!
    michelegreen120 at gmail.com

  64. Rachel Beaumont

    Each school year I hope that I am that “Mr. Christy” to at least one of my students. I love it when my previous students from years ago call my name out in public at either Sam’s or a festival. It warms my heart that they still remember me and feel at ease coming to talk to me after at all of these years (even if it’s only been seven years). I’m looking forward to next year’s GRA and reading aloud Fish in a Tree.

  65. Sara Allis

    Thank you for never ending appreciation for teachers! I put your book in the hands of as many of my students and fellow teachers as I can! @sarawolf76Allis

  66. What a fantastic tribute letter to your teacher. I am reading the book for the second time, this time to my class. They have so many personal connections as we are reading the book they think you have written about our room 206. They have enjoyed both of your books this year and they look forward to more books from you!

  67. Jennifer Guertin

    Thank you for your support of teachers and the hard work we do! I loved reading “Fish in a Tree” and can’t wait to share it with my students next year. In the meantime, I plan to read it with my 12-year old son this summer — he does like reading and I’m hoping he’ll still read with me. @jeng311

  68. Amy Garland


    In the midst of reading reading it! 😉

  69. Simply lovely thank you! My favorite teacher was my 6th grade teacher as well….Mrs. Surowitz

  70. Beatrice Cruz

    How cool! @TheBeatriceCruz

  71. Love the letter! we all have the one special teacher! @ysluvs2teach #LMHListen

  72. Leah Whitford

    wow. Your words are so beautiful, so stunningly perfect. Thank you, Lynda, for putting words what so many cannot. I was blessed to have many wonderful teachers over the years, but the one who saved me … Mrs.Palfrey. 7th grade English. Thank you for your books, which are helping other teachers rescue their students.

  73. Ellen Noonan

    Hi Lynda,

    This is such an amazing giveaway! I read OFTM with my class, and they loved it! We just started Fish in a Tree as a read aloud, and the kids are already hooked. Thanks for writing such amazing, relatable stories for our kids!


  74. What a thoughtful way to show appreciation for teachers. Much appreciated. @craigyen

  75. Ms. Kelly

    When I showed the book trailer to a group of fifth graders, I got goosebumps for I so love the book and want to share the love.

  76. Lisa Lindeman

    Recommended to me by a Nerdy Book Club member! Reading now..love the message. Can’t wait to see the interactions during GRA! @lisalibtech

  77. An amazing book! It is making me a better teacher!! Such heart! dbrackett@sanford.org

  78. Barbara Ling

    I read Fish in a Tree in two days and in those two days I’ve truly been changed as a teacher. I can only hope I will win this prize!! What a wonderful book and I haven’t stopped recommending it to my colleagues since I closed the cover.

  79. Linda, you never know how the words you say to a teacher will touch them, be it years later. We home we touch our students. It is the quiet ones we celebrate and usually get o feedback from that we want so much for. They are the ones we cry and pray for at night The letter was beautiful. Thank you for showing appreciation not only to Mr. Christy but to all teachers. @skstiles612

  80. Brenda Autz

    My favorite time of day is read aloud. I love your book! Some of my students benefit greatly from audiobooks. Please consider me! Thank you, Brenda Autz bautz@mcpasd.k12.wi.us

  81. What a wonderful giveaway! My daughter and I loved your book!

  82. Angelica

    Sounds awesome!

  83. Laura U.

    Your works affects lives. Thank you.

  84. Cindy Hall

    This letter was so inspiring! Thanks for sharing it, particularly during this Teacher Appreciation week. Blessings on you and your work. llca.cindy@lindsaylane.org, should my name happen to be drawn for this exceptional prize.

  85. Diane Younggren

    Oh my goodness!! I just ordered this book after reading about it on a Facebook feed!! I can’t wait to read it! The letter was especially inspiring….especially during Teacher Appreciations week! I have been a special educator for 34 years and have a special place in my heart for those dealing with the “invisible” learning issues. They are so much harder for classroom teachers to wrap their heads around, but I continue to “bang my drum” in support of all these kids! This prize would be a blessing indeed and another great way to share with the rest of our staff! My email address is dyounggren@kittson.k12.mn.us. Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway!!

  86. Krista Schmidt

    I would SO love to win this!! =) kristas@fsusd.org @SchmidtKristaS @WagnerScholars

  87. Tina Stimpson

    My struggling readers are loving this book. They have been writing down their feelings about the characters and events in a journal. Some of them have shared such personal stories. I hope I have been able to be these students “Mr. Daniels”. Thank you for writing this book.

  88. Melissa Ward

    Love, love, love this book!!

  89. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Here is to hoping that ALL students have a Mr. Christy, too! Love your work, and would love to win the giveaway!! heather_murfee@ccpsnet.net

  90. Love, Love, Love this book!!!!! So happy it will be a global read aloud:)

  91. I would love to win this and share it with my students.

  92. I hope to appreciate and celebrate our early learning support teacher from my girls school. She teaches through love and art and love of art. When I read about your poem, I thought of our Mme M. who teaches every child that they are valuable and smart and loved. I hop I can comment on behalf of her. I can’t wait to read your book. I’m so glad to have seen link to this on fb. 🙂

    Lori Atchison

  93. Bret Biornstad

    Thank you so much for your appreciation, it means more than you know, really.

  94. Korby Saunders

    My students would go crazy for this giveaway!

  95. Judy Livingston

    I am reading your book with my daughter now. We are both enjoying it! Thanks for writing it!

  96. Pingback: Teacher Appreciation C E L E B R A T I O N #4 ~ Norman Rockwell Visits the School Cafeteria | Be someone's hero. No cape required.

  97. debra

    I love this giveaway! @chanien9

  98. Stephaine Baker

    We all have a teacher who was a hero to us. Thank you for sharing your story!

  99. Melanie

    One of my favorite books so far this year!! Thanks for the great opportunity for the giveaway! mmeshekey@hotmail.com

  100. Kalysta Leary

    What an amazing giveaway! Thank you! I have absolutely loved reading your books and can’t wait to share them with many, many more students in the future!

  101. Inspired to write my own Mr. Christy letter!

  102. bromieparmer

    This is an amazing letter–though that is no surprise. You are pretty talented with words! 😉

  103. Allison Jackson

    Lynda, what a generous thing you are doing here. You know I loved Fish In A Tree. Thanks always for your support of teachers.


  104. This book is being passed from reader to reader in my class. Thanks for all you do for kids! @Victortweets

  105. Suzanne

    I became a teacher because of several heroic teachers who taught me in elementary and middle school. Love your books and sharing them with students, friends, family!

  106. This would be awesome! The

  107. Elizabeth Peter

    Oh my goodness! I have been telling about your book on the mountain that is my middle school. Thank you for be fantastico!


  108. Justin Greene

    Your books are so inspiring. Plus, I need to write a letter to my teachers, too. @justgreene

  109. Ryley Z.

    What an amazing prize! My 5th graders would be thrilled. Thanks for the chance:)

  110. Jodi Connolly

    I am really hyped to win this greatness!!!! @jconnollymisd

  111. Congratulations, Stacey! @libraryjo92. You are the winner of the huge giveaway :-). Huge congratulations to you and your kids. Thank you so very much for reading my blog and entering the giveaway!

  112. **********************************
    Thanks! UNFORTUNATLEY, THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!!!! ******************


  113. Jennifer

    Is it possible to purchase wooden nickels or the bracelets?

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