Monday, June 14, 2010

Jim Murphy, a nonfiction treasure

Today is Non-Fiction Monday. Rather than review a nonfiction title, I'd like to highlight a nonfiction author.  Jim Murphy has been a favorite of mine since I read The Great Fire as required reading in library school.  Since then, I've read other Jim Murphy titles and have never been disappointed. His books are thoroughly researched, well-written, gripping accounts of history that are more affecting than fiction.  Filled with photographs, maps, and other primary source facsimiles, readers are immersed in history.  His ability to recount catastrophic events from numerous perspectives, offers historical insight not readily available in textbooks or historical fiction.  If you've never read one of Jim Murphy's books, you're missing a wonderful experience. 

This year, Jim Murphy is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards award.
I try to keep abreast of the many awards for children's books, but because I read and review juvenile titles, I was unaware of ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association's (YALSA) Margaret A. Edwards Award.
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author's work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.
An interview with winner, Jim Murphy appears in this month's School Library Journal.  What makes Jim Murphy such a wonderful and interesting choice is that although he was chosen by YALSA, his books are also appropriate for younger (and older) readers, and most importantly, he is the first nonfiction author ever chosen for this award.

He is the winner of over 16 major awards including 2 Newbery Honors, the Robert F. Sibert Award, and 3 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Awards for Nonfiction.  His website offers a complete list of his many honors. I'm also pleased to mention that Jim Murphy resides in the beautiful Garden State - New Jersey. He is one of our many treasures. :)
Selected Books by Jim Murphy
Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting
The Great Fire
BLIZZARD! The Storm that Changed America
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom
and coming this year
The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution

Check out all the Nonfiction Monday reviews at Books together, today's host.
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