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«Topic Page(s)_ General info about book and author.. 3 Themes..4-5 Metaphors / Red Herrings..6 Intro Students to Book/Make Predictions..7 Graphic ...»

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One for the Murphys

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Teacher’s Guide

Table of Contents

Topic Page(s)_

General info about book and author...…………..……...……………….… 3


Metaphors / Red Herrings …………………………………………….….6

Intro Students to Book/Make Predictions...……………………..……….7

Graphic Organizers…………………...………………… ………………...8-11 Hero’s Journey…………………………………………………………….12-13 Common Core Standards (Grades 5-8) …………………………………..14-26 Chapter-by-Chapter Vocabulary/Discussion Questions…..………………27-36 Culminating Activities…………………………………………………….37-38


In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family.

Carley has thick walls and isn’t rattled easily, but this is a world she just doesn’t understand. A world that frightens her. So, she resists this side of life she’d believed did not exist with dinners around a table and a “zip your jacket, here’s your lunch” kind of mom.

However, with the help of her Broadway-obsessed and unpredictable friend, Toni, the Murphys do the impossible in showing Carley what it feels like to belong somewhere. But, when her mother wants her back, will she lose the only family that she has ever known?

Author Bio:

Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of middle-grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature. She is also a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Lynda has been Director of the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for six years. She lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat. Lynda’s next MG novel, ALPHABET SOUP, will be released in spring, 2014.

Praise for


“This is a beautiful book, filled with hope. You’ll cry and laugh along with Carley as she learns to lower her defenses enough to love—and, more surprisingly, be loved. It’s a story you’ll long remember.” —Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily’s Crossing “An astonishing debut! Lynda Mullaly Hunt's direct style of writing has readers rooting for Carley Connors and all of the Murphys from start to satisfying finish.” —Leslie Connor, ALA Schneider Family Award Winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch.

“Hunt’s writing is fearless and One For The Murphys is a story that is at once compassionate, thoughtprovoking and beautifully told. From the first page, I was drawn into Carley’s story. She is a character not to be missed or forgotten.” —Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor-winning author of Show Way and Feathers

Themes within ONE FOR THE MURPHYS:

Being a Hero: When Carley arrives, she finds that she must sleep under a sign that reads, “Be someone’s hero.” At first, she thinks it’s a bit of cruel irony. However, the more she learns about the Murphys— and herself—her idea of what being a hero actually is changes. Just about every character in the book can be considered a hero. Use these characters to discuss how ordinary people can do extraordinary things—not only on behalf of others but for themselves as well.

Being “Lucky”: The word “lucky” comes up often in the novel.

However, Carley’s definition of the word changes during her stay with the Murphys. She uses the word sarcastically at the beginning of the book, but those same things that made her feel unlucky in the beginning, make her feel lucky toward the end.

Bravery/courage: Both small and large acts of courage permeate the book. “Courage” is defined by Carley when she speaks to Daniel while playing basketball. However, there are acts of courage on the parts of Carley, Mrs. Murphy, Mr. Murphy, Mrs. MacAvoy, Toni, Daniel, and Carley’s mother.

Love as an agent of change: Well, Carley’s entire journey is evidence of this. Carley changes from self-involved and emotionally walled-off to demonstrating acts of affection and vulnerability. Two examples of this are putting herself on the line to protect Michael Eric from Jimmy Partin and also helping Daniel with basketball. Toni also shows her change of heart in coming forward to defend Carley against Rainer in the cafeteria.

Themes within ONE FOR THE MURPHYS:

Looks can be deceiving: Unfortunately, it’s common for people to draw conclusions prematurely. Carley does this in summing up the Murphys and in her first impressions of Toni. Upon arriving at Toni’s house, Carley assumes that Toni must have an easy life because of her home. In addition, Toni’s first impressions of Carley and the Murphys are also incorrect. In the situation that put Carley in foster care to begin with, incorrect assumptions play a part here as well.

Vulnerability/Showing your True Self: Again, this is a theme that runs through the book in reference to several characters. Showing one’s true self can be frightening but the payoffs can make it well worth it.

Other themes: betrayal, friendship, trust, family, resilience, defying gravity, gratefulness.

–  –  –

Trees: References and descriptions of the trees show up from the very beginning.

They are metaphors for a family’s love.

Trees references from book:

In social worker’s car—bare branches wave them by.

• Trees stand behind house like guards on watch (and house is brown like soil) • Wreath with green leaves on the front door (in winter) • “Be someone’s hero” on wooden sign.

• When Carley is upset, she runs to an orchard. Trees as shelter.

• Mrs. Murphy makes her apple pies — fed metaphorically and literally • Trees outside school • Tree outside library. Family loves this tree.

• Hangs Jimmy Partin in a tree by his overalls to protect Michael Eric • Color of the Red Sox hat that Carley is given—green like the trees. She feels likes • she belongs to something special.

Throughout book, the trees and Carley change together—opening up and blossom ing as time goes on.

The Giving Tree •

–  –  –

Clues that leave reader to believe that Carley may stay with the Murphys:

1. The title of the book

2. Mrs. Murphy’s book from the library

3. Carley’s mother saying that she can stay with the Murphys

–  –  –


Are there any objects on the cover that you wouldn’t expect?

• What do you think they could mean?

Any predictions about the title, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS?

• Who do you think the Murphys are?

–  –  –

There are several times in One for the Murphys when Carley does something that sets something else in motion that she doesn’t intend to happen.

Please find two examples of this and list them below.

–  –  –

1. Ordinary World This is where the Hero's exists before his present story begins, oblivious of the adventures to come. It's his safe place. His everyday life where we learn crucial details about our Hero, his true nature, capabilities and outlook on life. This anchors the Hero as a human, just like you and me, and makes it easier for us to identify with him and hence later, empathize with his plight.

2. Call To Adventure The Hero's adventure begins when he receives a call to action, such as a direct threat to his safety, his family, his way of life or to the peace of the community in which he lives. It may not be as dramatic as a gunshot, but simply a phone call or conversation but whatever the call is, and however it manifests itself, it ultimately disrupts the comfort of the Hero's Ordinary World and presents a challenge or quest that must be undertaken.

3. Refusal Of The Call Although the Hero may be eager to accept the quest, at this stage he will have fears that need overcoming. Second thoughts or even deep personal doubts as to whether or not he is up to the challenge. When this happens, the Hero will refuse the call and as a result may suffer somehow. The problem he faces may seem to much to handle and the comfort of home far more attractive than the perilous road ahead. This would also be our own response and once again helps us bond further with the reluctant Hero.

4. Meeting The Mentor At this crucial turning point where the Hero desperately needs guidance he meets a mentor figure who gives him something he needs. He could be given an object of great importance, insight into the dilemma he faces, wise advice, practical training or even self-confidence. Whatever the mentor provides the Hero with it serves to dispel his doubts and fears and give him the strength and courage to begin his quest.

5. Crossing The Threshold The Hero is now ready to act upon his call to adventure and truly begin his quest, whether it be physical, spiritual or emotional.

He may go willingly or he may be pushed, but either way he finally crosses the threshold between the world he is familiar with and that which he is not. It may be leaving home for the first time in his life or just doing something he has always been scared to do. However the threshold presents itself, this action signifies the Hero's commitment to his journey an whatever it may have in store for him.

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies Now finally out of his comfort zone the Hero is confronted with an ever more difficult series of challenges that test him in a variety of ways. Obstacles are thrown across his path; whether they be physical hurdles or people bent on thwarting his progress, the Hero must overcome each challenge he is presented with on the journey towards his ultimate goal.

The Hero needs to find out who can be trusted and who can't. He may earn allies and meet enemies who will, each in their own way, help prepare him for the greater ordeals yet to come. This is the stage where his skills and/or powers are tested and every obstacle that he faces helps us gain a deeper insight into his character and ultimately identify with him even more.

Thewritersjourney.com The Hero’s Journey, cont.

8. Ordeal The Supreme Ordeal may be a dangerous physical test or a deep inner crisis that the Hero must face in order to survive or for the world in which the Hero lives to continue to exist. Whether it be facing his greatest fear or most deadly foe, the Hero must draw upon all of his skills and his experiences gathered upon the path to the inmost cave in order to overcome his most difficulty challenge.

Only through some form of "death" can the Hero be reborn, experiencing a metaphorical resurrection that somehow grants him greater power or insight necessary in order to fulfill his destiny or reach his journey's end. This is the high-point of the Hero's story and where everything he holds dear is put on the line. If he fails, he will either die or life as he knows it will never be the same again.

9. Reward (Seizing The Sword) After defeating the enemy, surviving death and finally overcoming his greatest personal challenge, the Hero is ultimately transformed into a new state, emerging from battle as a stronger person and often with a prize.

The Reward may come in many forms: an object of great importance or power, a secret, greater knowledge or insight, or even reconciliation with a loved one or ally. Whatever the treasure, which may well facilitate his return to the Ordinary World, the Hero must quickly put celebrations aside and prepare for the last leg of his journey.

10. The Road Back This stage in the Hero's journey represents a reverse echo of the Call to Adventure in which the Hero had to cross the first threshold. Now he must return home with his reward but this time the anticipation of danger is replaced with that of acclaim and perhaps vindication, absolution or even exoneration.

But the Hero's journey is not yet over and he may still need one last push back into the Ordinary World. The moment before the Hero finally commits to the last stage of his journey may be a moment in which he must choose between his own personal objective and that of a Higher Cause.

11. Resurrection This is the climax in which the Hero must have his final and most dangerous encounter with death. The final battle also represents something far greater than the Hero's own existence with its outcome having far-reaching consequences to his Ordinary World and the lives of those he left behind.

If he fails, others will suffer and this not only places more weight upon his shoulders but in a movie, grips the audience so that they too feel part of the conflict and share the Hero's hopes, fears and trepidation. Ultimately the Hero will succeed, destroy his enemy and emerge from battle cleansed and reborn.

12. Return With The Elixir This is the final stage of the Hero's journey in which he returns home to his Ordinary World a changed man. He will have grown as a person, learned many things, faced many terrible dangers and even death but now looks forward to the start of a new life. His return may bring fresh hope to those he left behind, a direct solution to their problems or perhaps a new perspective for everyone to consider.

The final reward that he obtains may be literal or metaphoric. It could be a cause for celebration, self-realization or an end to strife, but whatever it is it represents three things: change, success and proof of his journey. The return home also signals the need for resolution for the story's other key players. The Hero's doubters will be ostracized, his enemies punished and his allies rewarded. Ultimately the Hero will return to where he started but things will clearly never be the same again.

Common Core Standards —Grade 5: Reading Literature Key Ideas and Details CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the • text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

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