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Thursday, June 21, 2012

ONE FOR THE MURPHYS

I'm trying to get back into the swing of reading more. To that end, I made a trip to the library last week, where I found a couple of great middle grade novels. ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hung has been mentioned quite a bit on Twitter and in the world of kidlitosphere recently.

Twelve-year-old Carley Connor ends up in the foster care system after an incident with her stepfather lands her mom in the hospital. Carley's mom sounds like many of my students' parents- she loves her daughter, and is doing the best she can to keep a roof over her head and food on the table. Unfortunately, the demands of parenthood are sometimes a little overwhelming, and some of the choices she makes are probably not in her daughter's best interests.

Carley ends up living with Julie and Jack Murphy, and their three boys- Daniel, Adam, and Michael Eric. Life with the Murphy family is much more stable and predictable than life in Carley's family of origin. Carley finds that she enjoys the predictability of a schedule with regular meals and bedtime and homework. She likes having a mom who is home and available. She even enjoys being a big sister and helping with her foster brothers. Then Carley's mom starts to recover and is ready to come back into her life.

As a mom of two boys from the foster care system and a teacher of many foster kids, I loved this book. Hunt understands the lives of foster kids- what it's like for a twelve-year-old girl to move into a bedroom with fire truck wallpaper, the huge internal dilemmas of loving your biological mom but watching her make choices that are not in your best interests, and even the stress placed on foster families. Put this one in a basket with TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord and PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS by Patricia Reilly Giff.

4 comments:

Nanc said...

It looks like a goodie! Thanks for sharing...sounds like my Kelly to a T :) xo nanc

Linda at teacherdance said...

It isn't about a foster child, but the review I just wrote for Waiting for Normal holds some of those same terribly mixed feelings of children who remain loyal to their parents, but need someone to raise them who is more stable.My brother adopted a boy our of the foster system at age 14. It was a tough ride, but he is a wonderful man now, with a great family. I've heard others talk about this book, too & must find it to read. Thanks Carol.

Dana said...

Just picked this book up from the library yesterday.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt said...

What a sweet surprise to run across this review. Thanks so much--it's lovely. Also, I LOVE Leslie Connor's work. Also, she is a friend of mine--they don't get any better than Leslie.