Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • Lucy's Wish
  • Written by Joan Lowery Nixon
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307827319
  • Our Price: $5.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Lucy's Wish

Lucy's Wish

Written by Joan Lowery NixonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joan Lowery Nixon


List Price: $5.99


On Sale: November 27, 2013
Pages: 128 | ISBN: 978-0-307-82731-9
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
Lucy's Wish Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Lucy's Wish
  • Email this page - Lucy's Wish
  • Print this page - Lucy's Wish
This book has no tags.
You can add some at Library Thing.


Ten-year-old Lucy Griggs's mother has just died, leaving Lucy orphaned and living on the streets of 1866 New York City. Then Lucy hears about the Children's Aid Society, a group that sends orphans out West to new homes. Lucy knows she'll never replace her mum, but maybe now she'll find a family--and even a little sister--to love.

But the family that takes her in is far from ideal. Mr. Snapes seems kind, but Mrs. Snapes is a bitter, angry woman. And Emma isn't the sister Lucy has dreamed of. Emma is a girl who people call "simple." Can Lucy learn to love this less-than-perfect family?


Lucy Amanda Griggs squirmed between the two large boxes she had found in the alley. Even though she was very tired, she couldn't sleep. The ground was hard and lumpy, and the bright morning sunlight forced Lucy to open her eyes.

She tugged her ragged shawl up to cover her head. Her hair felt damp and greasy. How long had it been since she'd had a bath? Lucy couldn't remember.

She smiled at Baby, cradling the doll in her arms. One side of Baby's face was covered with a spiderweb of cracks. And there was a hole in her cloth body, where Lucy had to keep poking the stuffing back inside. Lucy didn't care. She had found Baby in a trash bin. She knew that Baby needed her, and she needed Baby. The cracks, the faded dress, and the hole didn't matter. From the moment Lucy saw Baby she loved her.

Lucy rocked Baby and sang to her. It was a soft, sleepy song that Lucy's mother had always sung to her. "Rock, rock, my baby-o. Rock, rock, my baby."

But Lucy's song melted into tears as memories of her mother swept over her.

She angrily brushed the tears away. Crying didn't help. Lucy remembered the time when Mum had told her that Father had been killed in an accident. It was four years ago. Lucy and Mum had clung to each other and sobbed, but their tears hadn't brought Father back.

Lucy shivered and hugged Baby tightly. She thought about the terrible day when Mum had died of cholera. That was four--or was it five?--weeks ago. Inspectors from the Metropolitan Board of Health had hurried into Lucy and Mum's room. The inspectors were afraid that the disease would spread. Cholera had already killed more than two thousand New Yorkers. Even before the inspectors left, the landlord, Mr. Beam, had ordered Lucy to leave the building.

He had clutched her shoulder as he pushed her toward the doorway. "It's a matter of business. I've got to clean up that room and rent it to someone who can pay," he'd said. His eyes were not on Lucy, but on the inspectors.

Lucy had been so frightened that her heart had pounded. She'd clenched her hands to keep them from shaking. "But, sir, I've got nowhere to go," she had pleaded.

Mr. Beam had glanced nervously at the inspectors. He had lowered his voice and answered, "I can't worry about your problems. I've got enough of my own. The Board of Health like to have ruined me last February. They blame the landlords for the cholera that swept through this city."

He had cleared his throat with an angry harumph! and added, "Meeting their demands to clean up and make repairs cost me a great deal of money. I've nothing to spare, so don't be coming to me for help."

Weak from fear, but with no choice, Lucy had wandered out to the street. She had plopped down on a curb, heedless of the hooves of the horses and the heavy wagon wheels that rumbled near her toes. She had wept in sorrow, but her tears hadn't brought Mum back. They hadn't helped at all.

As Lucy's sobs became dry shudders, she had looked up and seen the Olneys' butcher shop across the street.

Sometimes Mum, with Lucy in hand, had stopped by the shop. Sometimes she had managed to come up with enough coins to buy a small piece of meat or a soup bone. And sometimes Mum had played with and talked to the Olneys' son, Henry.

Mrs. Olney looked unhappy whenever anyone asked her about Henry. "Never been right in the head since he was born," she said. "Can't nothin' be done about it."

Mum had treated Henry the way she treated everybody else. Henry tried to talk to Mum, and Mum seemed to understand. When she paid attention to Henry, he smiled and laughed.

Once Lucy overheard another neighbor say, "I'm always kind to the lad. I tell myself, "There but for the grace of God go I.'"

Under her breath, so that only Lucy could hear, Mum had whispered, "I tell myself, "There go I.'"

Later, when they were alone, Lucy had asked Mum, "Why is Mrs. Olney always so cross? Why doesn't she ever talk to Henry?"

Mum had shaken her head sadly. "Mrs. Olney wanted a strong, healthy child who could work in the shop and learn his father's trade. She's so bitter, she can't see that Henry has feelings like everyone else."

Lucy thought about the blue-and-green marble Mum had found and had given to Henry. He had laughed and clapped his hands with joy. "You know what Henry likes, and you can talk with him," Lucy had said. "I wish Mrs. Olney would try."

"Maybe someday she will," Mum had said. "For now, you and I will be Henry's friends."
Joan Lowery Nixon

About Joan Lowery Nixon

Joan Lowery Nixon - Lucy's Wish

Photo © Gittings

“In every story I write I give a great deal of thought to the main character, because the story is his, or hers. The direction of the story is determined by the main character’s ambitions and reactions. The main character is the one to whom the readers will relate.”—Joan Lowery Nixon

Joan Lowery Nixon is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and a two-time winner of the California Young Reader Medal.


Whether it’s engrossing historical dramas, chilling mysteries, suspense-filled page-turners, or adventure stories, kids, teachers, and librarians love the books of Joan Lowery Nixon.

Nixon is half Californian, half Texan. She has a degree in journalism and credentials in elementary education. Nixon has written over 130 books for children from preschool age through young adult—including science books, co-authored with her husband, geologist Hershell Nixon. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades, including the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile and the Texas Institute of Letters Award. Many of Nixon’s books have won state children’s choice awards. She is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. Nixon has four children and several grandchildren.

Nixon describes the pleasure she gets from writing mystery and suspense: “When I was young I discovered an evening radio program called I Love a Mystery. It was intriguing, suspenseful, and at times absolutely terrifying, and the title was correct. I did love a mystery—on radio, in films, and especially in books. Maybe I’m really a detective at heart because much later in my life, when I began to write books for young people, I discovered writing mysteries was even more fun than reading them.

“A mystery begins to develop in my mind when something sparks an idea and a question grows from it. What would it be like to move into a house in which a murder had taken place? How would I feel if my best friend were arrested for murder on circumstantial evidence? As a question develops into an answer, I give a great deal of thought to my main character. She is the most important part of the story, and I see it take shape through her eyes. Before I write a word of the story I know how I’ll begin it and how I’ll end it, making sure to put in honest clues and distracting red herrings—just to make the mystery all the more fun to solve. I love mysteries, and I want my readers to love them, too.”

In creating the acclaimed Orphan Train Adventures, Nixon explored a time and place in America’s recent past that is not widely covered in history lessons. She explains, “It was a part of history I hadn’t known: that beginning in 1854, over 100,000 homeless children were rescued from the streets of New York City and sent by train to new homes in the West. As I researched early journals, I found many letters—some hopeful, some sad—and reports which told of tears as brothers and sisters were separated or a child was not chosen. I wanted to bring history and fiction together in an exciting, adventurous time and place, to tell the stories of those who could have traveled west on the Orphan Train.”

Many of Nixon’s readers have written to her asking how to get published. Her novel The Making of a Writer, a part memoir, part how-to book, is her answer to them. From her first publication at age 10—a poem titled “Springtime”—to her graduation from Hollywood High during World War II, Nixon shares the incidents from her childhood that helped her to develop as a writer.


“A fast-moving, entertaining mystery with an intelligent and spunky heroine.”—Booklist

“Another solid Nixon mystery without too much violence and lots of suspense.”—Booklist

“Another successful page-turner. . . . Reluctant readers and mystery lovers alike will welcome a trip to this mansion.”—School Library Journal

“Thrilling . . . a riveting tale of suspense set against a background of fascinating historical context brought up to date through e-mail and the Internet.”—School Library Journal

“Enriched with family troubles, guilty secrets, and a whiff of the supernatural, this page-turner will please the legions of Nixon fans.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Masterfully constructed. . . . Ingeniously plotted, fast-paced and lighthearted, this mystery manages to blend an engrossing double murder brainteaser with the blossoming of a self-conscious teen into a self-assured young woman.”—Publishers Weekly

“Nixon’s reputation as the grande dame of mysteries for young readers remains solidly intact with this thriller . . . a topnotch choice.”—Starred, School Library Journal


“As close to perfect a book. . . . The plot is rational and well-paced; the characters are real and believable; the time setting is important in U.S. history; and the values all that anyone can ask for.”—VOYA

“This exciting and touching novel projects an aura of historical reality.”—School Library Journal


“There is suspense, surprise, and heartfelt emotion, and there is a useful historical note at the end.”—Booklist

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: