Tag Archives: Lynda Mullaly Hunt

NCTE 14: The Story of a First-Timer

So, I did it! I finally went to NCTE, and it. was. amazing. My kids survived without me for two days. The house was still standing when I returned home. And I would say that my first trip away from my family in thirteen years went off without any major hitches.

Well, that’s if you don’t count me leaving my Ipad at home, my phone dying first thing in the morning, and oh, wait…leaving my charger behind as well. So, some small hitches I guess. I felt a little disconnected, not being able to tweet during sessions or use the convention app with my intricately planned itinerary.  But, none of that really mattered, because I MET:



The wonderful Rules author, Cynthia Lord


National Book Award winner, Jacqueline Woodson


GRA 14 author, Lynda Mullaly Hunt


It’s Kylene Beers! Kylene Beers, people!


Author of Rump, The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, Liesl Shurtliff


Crazy Mac Barnett (and Twitter friend, Jamie Palmer)



And… Book Whisperer author, the lovely Donalyn Miller. But, sadly I have crazy fan eyes in that picture, and I can’t post it.

Incidently, a friend of mine was poking fun of my photos on Facebook, saying I looked so excited…like I was meeting movie stars. Well, umm…yes. Actually, much better. And, I’m pretty sure that Tom Cruise could have walked into the exhibit hall, and NO ONE would have moved an inch from their spot in line to meet Jackie Woodson. That’s just how we book nerds roll.

Speaking of book nerds, it was so fun to see lots of Nerdy Book Club members over the weekend.  More than anything, it was surreal to pass all the faces of people I “know” from Twitter in the hallway.  Everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming, and it didn’t matter that we hadn’t met before, because our love of books, and teaching, and students provided all the common ground we needed to jump into conversation after conversation.

Ok, so, there is no way that I can post about every session and every bit of genius that came from all of the presenters this weekend.  I’m thinking one sentence summaries for just a few of my workshops, but many many future posts are brewing as I reflect on NCTE 14.

Revising the Story: Reluctant Readers Overcoming Shame

Teachers: our words and actions have unbelievable power in the stories of our students’ lives.

Thanks to Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Liesl Shurtliff for sharing their stories of shame and the teachers who gave them hope. 

The Nerdy Book Club: Shaping Reading Identity through Community, Story, and Choice

Had to go. They were preaching to the choir here. Nerdies unite. Awesome Sauce.

(PS: Jonathan Auxier is TALL)

It’s Not Just for the Kids: Stories of What Can Happen When Teachers Embrace Curiousity, Openess, Creativity, and Wonder in the Teaching of Reading

Vicki Vinton chaired a wonderful panel of educators who shared some of their journeys as educators. I have to say more than one sentence here. I was happy I got to see this session, because a Twitter friend of mine, Julieanne Harmatz was part of the panel. She shared her ongoing wondering about the role of read aloud with her students. I always feel like she and I are following the same threads in our classrooms, and read aloud is something that I have been devoting a lot of thought to as well.  I love that she has devoted so much time to interviewing her students on the subject, which will really ground her teaching decisions in authentic student data.

Stories of Reading: Rethinking Instruction in a Digital Age

As teachers, we need to understand what it means to be a reader in today’s digital world, and then teach into that reality, helping our students encounter, evaluate, and engage with success.

Apps I’m looking into this month:

Pixie, Flipboard, and Pocket

Engagement: Taking an Active Stance with Informational Text

“Engagement: The need to know is so deep, they can’t help themselves.”  ~ Ellin Keene (Please rush to her next workshop)

Book I now need to read:


Minds Made for Stories by Tom Newkirk


So many more great sessions with smart, smart people.

Oh, and, this kind of happened along the way…


What? You still want to see my Donalyn Miller picture? Really? Ok, well… who doesn’t have crazy fan eyes when they meet Donalyn for the first time?


And really, she had the perfect words to sum it all up with this tweet:

Thanks NCTE 14 for an unforgettable experience!



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Fish In A Tree

fish in a tree

Classes around the world are currently enjoying Lynda Mullaly Hunt‘s One For the Murphys as they take part in the Global Read Aloud 2014.  Like many other readers, I fell in love with the story of Carley and her foster family, the Murphys.  After enjoying Hunt’s first novel so thoroughly, I eagerly waited for what was next. I wasn’t disappointed.

Fish In A Tree, scheduled for release on February 5, 2015,  rose right to the top of my new favorite books list.  The main character, Ally Nickerson, struggles against dyslexia, the low expectations of teachers, bullies, and her own insecurities in this brilliantly written novel.  The storyline is heartbreaking at times and laugh out loud funny at others. Readers will undoubtedly read from start to finish, devouring the wonderful plot, but hopefully return to Hunt’s words again and again, recognizing the artful craft of her writing.

After spending many years being passed from teacher to teacher and school to school, Ally knows that she’s different. She doesn’t learn like everyone else in her class. In fact, she’s sure that she isn’t smart at all. Labeled a behavior problem, she has become very good at getting out of school work and meeting everyone’s low expectations.  The new substitute teacher in her class, Mr. Daniels, suspects that there is something more to Ally Nickerson than failing grades and visits to the principal’s office.  And Ally is surprised by his persistance, kindness, and genuine interest; qualities she’s never seen in her teachers before now.

Thank You, Mr. Falker has always been one of my favorite picture books, and Fish In A Tree is chapters and chapters of Mr. Falker goodness.  I can think of countless students to whom I could recommend this book. But, what I really hope is that many many teachers and parents read this wonderfully written story that highlights the struggles that are true to life for so many boys and girls.

Thank you to Melissa Guerrette who sent me her copy of Fish In A Tree as part of her book vine!  You can check out her post on FIAT here.

And thank you Ms. Hunt for bringing the struggles of dyslexia to life with your story of Ally.  You leave your readers with hope. Always.

“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

~ Albert Einstein


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