Books by Jim Murphy

BREAKTHROUGH! by Jim Murphy
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Dec. 8, 2015

"Despite lacunae, a gripping look at a major medical breakthrough. (source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)"
In 1944, Dr. Alfred Blalock joined pediatrician Dr. Helen Taussig and research assistant Vivien Thomas to develop the first surgical procedure to treat a severe heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot, or more commonly "blue baby syndrome." Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"After reading this fascinating story, young people will appreciate the old expression, spawned by this very hoax, 'There's a sucker born every minute.' (research notes, source notes, bibliography, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
When a stone giant is found on a farm in upstate New York, William Newell sees the chance to get rich quickly. Read full book review >
Released: July 10, 2012

"Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating? (acknowledgments, picture credits, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 9-14)"
Murphy and Blank chronicle the story of the tuberculosis microorganism, the greatest serial killer of all time. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Dec. 1, 2010

"Despite these small shortcomings, this is a superbly written, well-researched and attractively illustrated account that may well launch researchers on further exploration. (chronology, Revolutionary War sites directory, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)"
Murphy brings the winter of 1776 to life with powerful prose and captivating illustrations. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"Every Who / Down in Who-ville / Liked Christmas a lot… / But the Grinch, / Who lived just north of Who-ville, / Did NOT!" Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 7, 2009

"Grand. (notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
Murphy returns to the War Between the States for this account of Antietam, known as the bloodiest battle in American history. Read full book review >
THE REAL BENEDICT ARNOLD by Jim Murphy
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 17, 2007

"An important addition to collections on the American Revolution. (index) (Nonfiction. 10+)"
The name Benedict Arnold has become synonymous with the word "traitor," but the real Benedict Arnold is a more complicated entity. Read full book review >
DESPERATE JOURNEY by Jim Murphy
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"All in all, though, this is a well-written story about a little-known part of American history. (Fiction. 9-12)"
The Erie Canal was "one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of the world," a highway for settlers heading west and a route from the Great Lakes across New York state to Albany and on to New York City. Read full book review >
FERGUS AND THE NIGHT-DEMON by Jim Murphy
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 18, 2006

"A lengthy author's note explains how he blended elements of Irish folklore to craft this spooky yarn. (Folktale. 5-9)"
Murphy turns his honed nonfiction hand to spinning folklore. Read full book review >
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: April 21, 2003

"Stellar. (bibliography, illustration credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)"
A mesmerizing, macabre account that will make readers happy they live in the 21st century. Read full book review >
INSIDE THE ALAMO by Jim Murphy
HISTORY
Released: March 11, 2003

"Essential for library collections and a good bet for the classroom. (index, list of those inside) (Nonfiction. 10+)"
Murphy tells of "a time when our nation was young and raw and only beginning to take on the shape and character we know today." Read full book review >
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"His fiction allows the reader to learn attitudes and hardships in the struggle for survival on the prairie through the mind of a participant. (photos, recipe, acknowledgements) (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
The Dear America series has a system, and it often works: a diary format, historical pictures at the back, often with commentary, recipes, or other specifics, and some referents to tie the fictional events to time and place. Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 6, 2000

"A biography of a common man that is also the history of a civilization and its times. (index and bibliography) (Biography. 9-14)"
In 1910, Pascal D'Angelo and his father left the harsh Abruzzi region of Italy to escape its impossible poverty and journey to the United States; Pascal was 16 years old. Read full book review >
BLIZZARD! by Jim Murphy
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"This is skillfully done: humorous, jaw-dropping, thought-provoking, and chilling. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)"
In the same format as his Newbery Honor title The Great Fire (1995), Murphy brings the blizzard of 1888 to life. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: May 6, 1996

"Murphy provides the best of both, the drama and the grind, appeasing readers' fascination with war without romanticizing it. (b&w reproductions, bibliography, chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 9+)"
A brief history based on the privately printed memoirs of Joseph Plumb Martin, who, at the age of 15, signed up for the Connecticut state militia on July 6, 1776, and stayed with the army for the next seven years. Read full book review >
THE GREAT FIRE by Jim Murphy
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: April 1, 1995

A veritable cinematic account of the catastrophe that decimated much of Chicago in 1871, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes. Read full book review >
NIGHT TERRORS by Jim Murphy
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"Compared to Gordon's The Burning Baby and Other Ghosts (p. 1273), this collection seems decidedly anemic. (Short Stories. 11-13)"
An old gravedigger embeds five mild horror stories, all featuring young people, into an account of his peregrinations. Read full book review >
ACROSS AMERICA ON AN EMIGRANT TRAIN by Jim Murphy
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 18, 1993

"Generously illustrated with period photos and prints; endpaper map; extensive bibliography, mostly of sources; index. (Nonfiction. 9+)"
The 19th century's transcontinental railroads, explored via a delightfully effective narrative device: tracing the 1879 journey of Robert Louis Stevenson, who, at 29, was making an as- swift-as-possible journey from Edinburgh to Monterey, California, where his beloved Fanny was desperately ill. Read full book review >
BACKYARD BEAR by Jim Murphy
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

"Brief but interesting bibliography, including books from several state agencies. (Picture book. 4-9)"
Told mostly from a bear's point of view, a thoughtful, nonjudgmental, and scrupulously realistic depiction of people in uneasy confrontation with the wild. Read full book review >
THE LONG ROAD TO GETTYSBURG by Jim Murphy
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: April 20, 1992

"Capacious bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 11-14)"
Relying heavily on firsthand accounts plus uncredited (but apparently contemporary) photos, prints and sketches, Murphy opens and closes with the battlefield dedication ceremony, in which Edward Everett delivered a long, eloquent speech and President Lincoln was tentatively invited to give ``a few appropriate remarks'' (quoted in full); in between, the author analyzes Lee's strategy; points out the many ironies of timing and position that affected the battle's outcome; and, using brief extracts from the journals of a Union corporal and a Confederate lieutenant, captures a soldier's-eye view of the exhausting marches, frantic firefights, and weary, poignant aftermath. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 22, 1990

A survey of experiences of youths, 16 and under, fighting in the Civil War. Read full book review >