Lily and Dunkin


Lily and Dunkin
Written by Donna Gephart

Publisher’s Summary:
Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth-grade. Norbert Dorfman, nicknamed Dunkin Dorfman, is bipolar and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

Primary Source Pairing:
There are many differences between Lily and Norbert, but one thing they have in common is their love of breakfast pastries. Lily loves PopTarts while Norbert lives for Dunkin Donuts – which is why Lily gives him the nickname Dunkin. As the kids say these days, this book has “all the feels.” Readers will laugh and cry with the characters as they get to know each one through the book. They will cheer for their triumphs and empathize with their struggles. Ultimately, Lily and Dunkin teach us about being ourselves and the importance of helping others do the same.

For this primary source pairing, invite students to watch a YouTube video created by author Donna Gephart. In this video, she talks about her book Lily and Dunkin and how meaningful it is to her. Make sure to discuss the Author’s Note with your students. Donna Gephart’s moving tribute to her son and the people who have supported their family is powerful and inspiring.

Questions for Discussion:

  • In the video, author Donna Gephart states: “This is the book of my heart. It was a book I didn’t want to write. I was scared to write, but I knew that I had to write.” Why do you think she says this?
  • According to Donna Gephart, she receives letters from readers who write: “This book changed the way I thought.” How did Lily and Dunkin change the way you think?
  • If you were to write a letter to Donna Gephart in response to reading Lily and Dunkin, what would you say?
  • What part of Lily and Dunkin was your favorite?
  • With which character in Lily and Dunkin did you most identify?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Donna Gephart Talks About Her Book, LILY AND DUNKIN: YouTube

Additional Resources:
Reading / Activity Guide:
RESOURCES —  LGBTQ, Mental Health, etc.: