I'm Sally Murphy, an Australian author of over 30 children's books. I'm also the slightly crazy mother of six beautiful kids. You'll find bits of me buried somewhere in every one of my books. I love reading, writing, and speaking about reading and writing.

View my books or hire me to speak at your school, festival, or writers group.

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Poetry Friday: All About the Books

Recently I did my annual bookshelf tidy. Roughly once a year I tidy up by shelves, put everything back into alphabetic order, and give away books which don’t fit and which I’m finished with. It isn’t long, of course, before themy system starts to break down – in fact, if you look carefully, you can see that not all of my picture books fitted back in and so some are sitting on top. Oops.


One of my favourite poems about books is by Julia Donaldson and, coincidentally, someone shared it on Facebook yesterday, reminding me it would be a good fit for Poetry Friday. It begins:

I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

You can read the rest online here.


I also like the image Emily Dickinson provided, of a book being like a ship:

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry.

You can read the rest online here.

And, of course, even Dr Seuss has written about books:

Never too old

Do you have a favourite poem about books or about reading? I’d love to hear it.

Have a great Poetry Friday. The roundup today is hosted by  Random Noodling.

Poetry Friday: Dolphins

I’ve spent a lot of time walking lately, and have several favourite places where I can walk and watch dolphins at the same time. One of them is a place called The Cut, where the Australiand estuary meets the Indian Ocean. When I was there a few days ago there were at least a dozen dolphins, busily fishing, and also catching the waves that were breaking just off the end of the cut. I drafted a poem in my head as I walked, at the same time I tried (not very succesfully) to capture what I was seeing with my phone camera. Unfortunately, the phone just can’t zoom enough to really do justice to the magic happening on the water – and the dolphins, when they jump, don’t let you know in advance so you can get your timing right :) Still, I thought I might match the poem with some of my shots.

At The Cut

So many dolphins

Dolphins at Cut

You can see them right? About three in this shot.

catching fish

They splash and froth while they're fishing. Cool to watch.

They splash and froth while they’re fishing. Cool to watch.

catching waves

Look closely - there are two dolphins INSIDE the wave, having a ride.

Look closely – there are two dolphins INSIDE the wave, having a ride.

catching air.

(If you watch right to the end you’ll see the dolphin jump out of the wave)

And me,

on the beach,

catching my breath

Cut Selfie

as I try to catch it all

on camera.

I tried and tried to et a selfie with dolphins in the background. But every time I clicked they dived.

I tried and tried to get a selfie with dolphins in the background. But every time I clicked they dived.


And here’s the poem without all the interruptions:

At The Cut

So many dolphins

catching fish

catching waves

catching air.

And me,

on the beach,

catching my breath

as I try to catch it all

on camera.

(Sally Murphy, 2016)


Happy Poetry Friday. The roundup this week is hosted by Carol at Carol’s Corner.

A Special Delivery

When I got home from my walk today, there was a parcel waiting for me. How could I resist opening it when it exhorted me to do so?

An invitation I couldn't resist.

An invitation I couldn’t resist.

Inside, there was a lovely surprise: advance copies of Sage Cookson’s Sweet Escape, the first is my brand new series.

Copies of my latest book.

Copies of my latest book.

So, after I’d stopped squealing with delight and hugging it, I had a glass of sparkling sodawater to celebrate.

Bubbling soda water.

Bubbling soda water.

With fourteen days till its release, I guess the countdown is really on!

School Magazine: 100 Years

It was great to find a big yellow envelope in my mail today. Inside were contributor copies of the latest Countdown Magazine, with my poem Kitten inside, illustrated by the amazing Matt Ottley.

School Mag

It’s always exciting to be included in one of the four School Magazines. I’ve posted before about the fact that School Mag is celebrating 100 Years of publication this year. When I was in Sydney recently I was able to help celebrate this event at the CBCA National Conference.

School Mag 2

Once again, happy birthday School Magazine!

Poetry Friday: Alone

I’ve been reading and thinking about verse novels lately, and the way that lots of smaller poems can weave a narrative. So, for Poetry Friday today I thought I would share the opening poem from my own verse novel, Pearl Verses the World.


Sometimes I think    Pearl Verses the World

That I am on an island –

A deserted one

With just a single coconut tree.

Other days I think

I’m trapped in a bubble

Floating aimlessly through a void.

Whereever  I am

No one sees me.

(Copyright Sally Murphy 2009, 2016)

This poem came to me late one night as I was getting into bed. I grabbed a piece of paper and jotted it down. It was only later that I realised that this wasn’t only a stand-alone poem – it was the start of a story, a story which insisted on being told.  And so it evolved into a verse novel.

At the start of this book trailer (which was my first ever attempt at such a thing) you can hear the poem read aloud, by Murphlet 6.

Ever since that poem came to me, I’ve been really grateful that it chose me – and that Pearl, the voice in the poem, chose me to tell her story. The book has been published in Australia, the United States and England (under the title Pearl) and was made into a play by the Jigsaw Theatre Company. Most importantly, it’s been read and loved by children and by adults, some of whom didn’t even realise that the book was poetry – which is fine by me (I call it poetry by stealth).

What was the last verse novel you read? If you’ve never read one, maybe it’s time you tried one for yourself.

Happy Poetry Friday. Today’s roundup is hosted by Beyond Literacy.


Poetry Friday: Happy Toes

Winter has just begun here in Australia, but you’d hardly know it, with mild, sunny days (though the nights have been cold).


Yesterday I left my shoes at home and walked barefoot on the sand and in the edge of the water.  The water was a little crisp but gosh it felt good – and it inspired this poem.

Happy Toes

This morning I have happy toes

They’re wriggling in the sand

They’ve carried me here ocean-side

To where the sea meets land


This morning I have happy toes

They’re dancing on the beach

They’re gathering secrets from below

And whispering each to each


This morning I have happy toes

They’re tingling in the waves

They’re laughing at the silly way

The morning sea behaves


This morning I have happy toes

They’ll head home feeling great

But tomorrow they’ll be back here

For another beach play date!


Copyright Sally Murphy 2016


This week’s Poetry Friday roundup is hosted over at Check It Out. Head over and check out the roundup of poetry goodies across the blogosphere.