Ally Nickerson

Happy Birthday, Ally Nickerson. Fish in a Tree Swims into the World.

Well. Today is the day. The launch day of FISH IN A TREE. I can hardly believe it.

On Sunday I had a party. A big party which was the official launch. Many friends and family came from far and wide and lots of hours went into its planning. But there was another launch that took place in Maine. At a small school off the beaten path. The whole thing caught me off guard.

I showed up at the school to do a school visit with fourth and fifth graders. I had been looking forward to it as I love fourth and fifth graders! And the teacher there is pretty awesome too. After meeting a bunch of AWESOME kids I was greeted with THIS:



The kids were excited that an author had come to visit. I spoke about FISH IN A TREE, where it came from and took questions. It was the first time I had spoken in-person to kids about this book. And they asked great questions!

One thing I’d mentioned to them is that there are several changes in the hardcover compared to the advanced reader copy (ARC). Reading the ARC felt like a real book, so I caught some things in it that I hadn’t caught earlier. I added passages here and there. Changed a few things. (One important change is to Albert’s shirt.) The young man in the front row boldly asked–which I loved–what the changes were. And I stood there listing them as they dropped into my head and they reacted to every change. It was cool. THEY are cool.

Okay. So, I had an awesome talk with them. Time flew. Later, I went into the hallway and saw many things I hadn’t seen earlier because they were around corners and such. I mean, really. The hallway was an explosion of FISH IN A TREE stuff. Visually AMAZING. But you know what else? These kids are SMART!

Life-sized paper figures of FIAT characters.

Life-sized paper figures of FIAT characters.

Look at Albert! He has "FLINT" on his shirt. Keisha has a cupcake. Ally has a rainbow. Attention to detail. LOVE IT!

Look at Albert! He has “FLINT” on his shirt. Keisha has a cupcake. Ally has a rainbow. Attention to detail. LOVE IT!

And the thing that is SO COOL about this project is that each character has a written description next to each one. But…if you lift the paper shirt, you see another written description of what he/she is really like on the inside. Because there is a theme in this book of pretending to be one thing when you’re really someone different and learning to own who you really are.


Here are the other characters made by these AMAZING fourth graders!


IMG_0608 IMG_0610 IMG_0611

And Here is Mr. Daniels.


And I LOVE their description of what Mr. Daniels is like on the INSIDE:

melissa's room

So…all of this would have been amazing on its own…but…

I LOVED the Writer's Wisdom wall! And I even got to add something :-)

I LOVED the Writer’s Wisdom wall! And I even got to add something 🙂

melissa's bookshelf

LOOK! at the amazing books here! MANY that I love, too!

And there was an INTERNATIONAL DOT DAY board (HUGE FAN of this concept created by Peter Reynolds!) where each child created a dot of their own–to express what makes them each unique.


I love Melissa's dot :-)

I love Melissa’s dot 🙂

A board of writing assignments where the kids had to choose a character from a book other than FISH IN A TREE and compare Ally to its main character. Amazing thinking skills.

A board of writing assignments where the kids had to choose a character from a book other than FISH IN A TREE and compare Ally to its main character. Amazing thinking skills.

A board of writing assignments where the kids had to choose a character from a book other than FISH IN A TREE and compare Ally to its main character. Amazing thinking skills. And this is made out of cloth! cloth! Wow.  Below, is just one example but THESE WERE ALL GREAT!

writing assignment

melissa and I

This is Melissa – the teacher who orchestrated all of this! She is amazing, isn’t she? I mean seriously.

But, teachers–no author expects all of this. Not nearly. Most of us are happy if the kids have read our book(s). AND as a teacher, I would NEVER have pulled all of this off. Melissa must have elves. Or a magic wand. Or an extensive behind-the-scenes crew working day and night.

As I left the school, I looked back at this sign on the front door. And thought that is was INDEED a welcome. A big welcome.

welcome sign

I absolutely loved all of the things these kids and Melissa did for my visit to their school. But I can honestly say, I liked their hearts the most. This is a very special community. I find myself missing them as I type this.

As I walked to my car that day, I thought that this would end up feeling like the *official* launch of the book. And after my big party on Sunday which couldn’t have been any better…I still think that this visit was the day Ally Nickerson felt like she’d finally stepped into the world.


Here is a podcast I did with Matthew Winner about the backstory for FISH IN A TREE:


POST to giveaway of signed book, t-shirt, and swag for kids 🙂


Here is the Book Trailer for FISH IN A TREE:

Categories: Ally Nickerson, Fish in a Tree, Great minds don't think a like, writing | 15 Comments

Thanks SO Much Global Read Aloud Readers. You are MY Heroes :-) #GRA14

ALL GRA 14 Hello, Global Read Aloud Readers! I really just wanted to thank you all for jumping in to do #GRA14 this year. Thanks to those of you who chose Murphys as your GRA–but thanks to the rest of you as well! To be honest, with the amazing choices that were offered for 2014, *I* would have had a hard time choosing! So, I’m pretty honored and humbled if you chose Murphys. Thanks, again. It was a blast!

The soon-to-be-legendary Pernille Ripp, who got this whole Global Read Aloud thing started (and who is just the nicest person ever) interviewed me yesterday. She chose from over 400 questions that all of you sent in from all over the WORLD (mind blown!) and I did my very best to answer them. Here is the video just in case you missed it. (HA! WHAT is with that picture? Am I being dive-bombed by a fly the size of a football?) As a THANK YOU, Copy (3) of FISH IN A TREE COVER high resI am posting a giveaway of an ARC of my new book–FISH IN A TREE. Please leave a comment below about something surprising that happened during #GRA14 or perhaps your favorite thing about GRA14 or ANYTHING you want about #GRA. Please tweet/retweet the link with the hashtag #FIATbook so I can find your post. By doing so, you (and your class) will be entered to win:

  • An ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of FISH IN A TREE
  • Some swag for your class (i.e. bracelets, bookmarks, wooden nickels)
  • A free 45-minute class Skype about Murphys and/or Fish in a Tree. (I’ll be happy about that–I love to speak with readers. 🙂

Giveaway will end on Wednesday, November 19th at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced Thursday morning. (However, because I leave for #NCTE14 that day, I may not get your prize mailed until the following week) Again–thanks for everything! You are the BEST readers anywhere and everywhere. ~Lynda

Categories: Ally Nickerson | Tags: , , , , | 43 Comments

Collection of Teacher-Related & Bullying Posts – NCTE14


At NCTE, I’d referred to these two teacher-related posts and a bullying post in a few conversations w/ teachers. I had promised to post them here so they are easy to find for you–so here they are. Whether I had the pleasure of speaking with you or not, thank you for stopping by here. I appreciate it. 🙂



**COVER REVEAL FOR FISH IN A TREE  (About the first teacher that changed me. Saved me, really… My novel, FISH IN A TREE turned out to be a love letter to him and all teachers like him)


THE YEAR I MET PETER: (About the first book that changed me)


IRON WHISPER (being bullied as a kid)


Categories: Ally Nickerson, books, Fish in a Tree, Great minds don't think a like, journey, Love of teachers, NCTE, Teachers/Teaching, writing | Leave a comment


It’s Halloween and ghouls just want to have fun. SO….

….I am posting a FISH IN A TREE giveaway including a signed ARC. In case you’d like to know something about the book, here is some info including a synopsis and Chapter One.

The giveaway includes:

mega giveaway

  1. A signed ARC of FISH IN A TREE  (release date is Feb 5, 2015)
  2. A Fish in a Tree t-shirt (sizes are limited)
  3. A “Great minds don’t think alike/ Got grit?” lanyard
  4. A class set of 30 “Great minds don’t think alike/ Got grit?” bracelets.
  5. A class set of 30 “silver dollar day/wooden nickel day” wooden nickels for your students
  6. A class set of 30 FISH IN A TREE tattoos
  7. A fancy FISH IN A TREE pen – because who doesn’t love a good pen?
  8. Three signed copies of ONE FOR THE MURPHYS for your classroom library. Or I will happily personalize them if you wish.
  9. A set of 30 Murphys bookmarks for your students
  10. My undying gratitude for being the kind of teacher who would enter a giveaway for your class.

You earn entries by:

  • Tweeting this post with the hashtag #FIATbook (This way I can find your entries).
  • Retweeting or quoting tweets (with #FIATbook).
  • Sharing this to FB, but please let me know in the comments below.
  • Lastly, you can enter by commenting about anything you’d like below—feel free to just say hello, tell a story of a student (yourself or another) who has persevered despite obstacles, or a story of a wonderful, life-changing teacher—because there are SO many unsung heroes out there. I know it. In fact, this book is one big thank you note to you teachers out there who are saving kids every day.

A winner will be randomly chosen Thursday, November 6th at 11:59PM. *The winner MUST have a school mailing address.*

And, thank you for your interest in FISH IN A TREE. If you ever get around to reading it, I do hope you enjoy meeting Ally, Keisha, Albert, Suki, Mr. Daniels and the others…

Categories: Ally Nickerson, Dyslexia, Fish in a Tree, Giveaway, Great minds don't think a like, Grit, writing | 59 Comments

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