"Island Schoolhouse: One Room for All"

A new book by Eva Murray to be published on September 12, 2012


Island Schoolhouse: One Room for All
Eva Murray
Publication Date: September 12, 2012
Paperback, $20, ISBN 978-0-88448-340-3
6 x 9, 320 pages, photographs
Maine / Education

"Schools are the glue that hold island communities together. Eva Murray provides passionate descriptions of why the islands' one-room schoolhouses have not only survived, but continued to thrive in the Internet era."

ŚPhilip Conkling, Founder and President, Island Institute, and author of Islands in Time: A Natural and Cultural History of the Islands of the Gulf of Maine

"I had the good fortune to educate my children in island schools and served for many years on our school board. And, while North Haven is much bigger (350 year-round) than our neighbor Matinicus, I found that Eva's beautiful writing accurately captures the challenges and gifts of island life. What a wonderful book!"

ŚChellie Pingree, Congresswoman, 1st District of Maine

On six remote, windblown Maine islands, the children are still educated in one-room schools. After two mainland one-room schools closed in 2009, these islands maintain the last taxpayer-funded public one-room elementary schools in the state. But despite very small student populations and sometimes shrinking communities, these remaining schools are not slated to close. Consolidation is impractical, a daily commute is usually impossible, island families are determined to keep their communities viable, and all agree that a school is a central part of a stable, year-round community.

You might think that these tiny schools are an anachronism, offering an old-fashioned approach to education. You'd be wrong. They are among the most technologically savvy schools in the state and offer a culturally rich educational experience. Author Eva Murray moved to Matinicus in 1987 to teach in the one-room school, married and raised a family on the island, and has served on the school board and volunteered in the school. She has traveled from island to island, collecting the stories that tell how these small communities promise their handful of children a modern education within the context of a specialized and sometimes extreme offshore lifestyle. The hows and whys will fascinate educators, and the details of island life will interest everyone.

"Well Out to Sea" Published

Eva Murray. Thursday, Jul-01-10

bookcover.jpg align=right

by Eva Murray
Publication date: July 1, 2010
Tilbury House Publishers
ISBN 978-0-88448-331-1
6 x 9, 320 pages

"Want to run away from the "śreal' world and live on an island off the coast of Maine? Well, Eva Murray will show you that life on Matinicus is very real, and she'll do this with insight, compassion, feistiness, and just the right amount of humor. Reading this book is almost as much fun as driving the ferry!"
    -- Captain Abe Baggins, Maine State Ferry Service

"As a First Class ship pilot (any tonnage) for nearly thirty years, I had a lot of contact with people on Matinicus Island, where we had a pilot station. I have wished for some time that someone would write a descriptive story about Matinicus and its people. Mission accomplished with Eva Murray's book "Well Out to Sea."
    -- Captain Gilbert Hall

What's it like to live on an island twenty-two miles out to sea? Where there are only three dozen winter residents? Where the local economy is lobstering? Period. Where your most reliable source of transportation off the island may be a small Cessna and the airstrip is dirt (or snow or mud)? Where, if the forecaster says the storm is "headed safely out to sea," you know it's coming your way?

Eva Murray moved to Matinicus in 1987 to teach in its one-room school. She married an island man and stayed to raise their family there. Over the years she's written a number of lively columns and articles for mainland publications. These are the stories of a unique community, of an interdependence that is all too rare these days but necessary for this island's survival. Murray writes with a keen eye and sharp wit, sharing stories that are sometimes poignant, sometimes mind-boggling, and often hilarious. She lives in a place where, "You love it, absolutely love it here, 51 percent of the time. That is enough to make you stay."Ł

Eva Murray first came to Matinicus as the teacher in the island's one-room school. She is a freelance writer, an EMT, runs a small seasonal bakery from her home during the summer, is married to the island's electrician and has raised two children on Matinicus.