Synopses & Reviews
Noah Webster may be best remembered the enormous and ambitious task of writing his famous dictionary, but for him, this accomplishment was a means to an end. His true goal was to streamline the language spoken in our newly formed country so that it could be used as a force to bring people together and be a source of national pride. Though people laughed at his ideas, Webster never doubted himself. In the end, his so-called foolish notions achieved just what he had hoped.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Here, in the only account of Noah Webster for teens, the seasoned biographer Catherine Reef guides us through Websterand#39;s remarkable life, from boyhood on a Connecticut farm through the fight for American independence to his days as a writer and political activist who greatly influenced our Founding Fathers and the direction of the young United States.
"The broad focus of the slim volume allows it to be about many things: medical discovery, technology, art and how people from all walks of life have dealt with a deadly disease that pays no attention to social distinctions."--Kirkus, starred review "This is a solid and timely addition to nonfiction resources on sickness and human history."--VOYA, 4Q 3P J S
"Lively text complemented by excellent, well-placed reproductions of photographs, drawings, flyers, woodcuts, posters and ads . . . . Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating?" and#8212;Kirkus Review, starred review "This is a solid and timely addition to nonfiction resources on sickness and human history."and#8212;VOYA, 4Q 3P J S "An engaging read."and#8212;Horn Book "The writing is crisp and clinical . . . Students researching diseases or medical breakthroughs will find this book both informative and interesting."and#8212;School Library Journal, starred review "Wide ranging in breadth, yet always well focused on the topic at hand, this fascinating book offers a sharply detailed picture of tuberculosis throughout history."and#8212;Booklist, starred review
"The 19th centurys 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. . . . A fascinating, imaginatively structured account that brings the experience vividly to life in all its detail: history at its best. Generously illustrated with period photos and prints; endpaper map; extensive bibliography, mostly of sources; index."
Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
"A readable and valuable contribution to literature concerning expansion into the American West." School Library Journal, Starred
"A mesmerizing, macabre account...powerful evocative prose... compelling subject matter...fascinating discussion...valuable lesson in reading and writing history. Stellar." KIRKUS REVIEWS, STARRED REVIEW Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Leisurely, lyrical tone...Murphy injects the events with immediacy...archival photographs...bring the story to life...comprehensive history." PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY Publishers Weekly
"laudable insight...Readers view the panic from several vantage points...allows his audience to share the contemporary complexity...truly absorbing" THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS, STARRED REVIEW The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred
"solid research and a flair for weaving facts into fascinating stories...extensive and interesting...you'll have students hooked on history." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW School Library Journal, Starred
"History, science, politics and public health come together in this dramatic account...brings the 'unshakeable unease' chillingly close." BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA
"diverse voices...representative images...Everywhere, Murphy is attentive to telling detail...Thoroughly documented...the work is both rigorous and inviting." THE HORN BOOK MAGAZINE Horn Book
"Nobody does juvenile nonfiction better than Murphy...transparently clear and well-paced prose...grueseome medical details...also plenty of serious history" THE WASHINTON POST BOOK WORLD The Washington Post
"superbly written...represents nonfiction at its best...extremely accessible and readable...captivating...an outstanding annotated bibliography...an excellent choice" VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES (VOYA) VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"Lavishly illustrated . . . Murphy unflinchingly presents the horrors. . . . he has produced another book that can make history come alive. . . ."--NY TIMES BOOK REVIEW The New York Times Book Review
"Murphy's dramatic history book...brings to life the determination and perseverance of a people whose future was uncertain." CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR Christian Science Monitor
"An excellent selection of sepia-toned contemporary photographs augment the text of this informative, moving work." School Library Journal, Starred
"An outstanding example of history brought to life through the experience of one individual." School Library Journal, Starred
"A first-rate additon to Civil War collections." SLJ, starred School Library Journal, Starred
* andquot;Featuring a large font and images throughout, this attractive offering is an excellent look at a noteworthy individual. A first-rate addition to biography and history collections.andquot;
andmdash;School Library Journal, starred review
andquot;Thorough, well-documented, and smoothly written.andquot;
andquot;Reef capably weaves Websterand#39;s biography into the history of Americaand#39;s early years.andquot;
andquot;Historical background gives context to this cradle-to-grave biography, and en epilogue discusses how our language continues to change.andquot;
andmdash;Horn Book Magazine
"Perhaps we can never know the real Arnold, but this splendid biography brings us close ... fascinating reading." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"As always, Murphy's prose is clear and detailed.... An important addition to collections on the American Revolution." Kirkus Reviews
This well-developed account will be valuable to Revolutionary War enthusiasts, and the index andf bibliogaphic notes will assist report writers in junior high and beyond.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The author's consideration of other historians' theories and use of sophisicated vocaulary will challenge his audience to think critically and conisder all points of view.
Perhaps we can never know the real Arnold, but this splendid biography brings us close.The final section provides fascinating reading as well as additional resources.
Book Links, ALA
Buffs of the era, military enthusiasts, and biography readers will be entranced by this fascinating, well-researched volume.
School Library Journal, Starred
Murphy examines both rumors and facts about Arnold so that readers can 'see Benedict Arnold in as fair and as objective a way as possible.
This fast-paced, interesting, and well-written book sheds light on who he was before his traitorous act and why he chose to commit it.
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"A lively, engaging, and well-researched book. . . . Numerous black- and-white drawings and paintings from the early days and actual photographs of more recent times add immediacy and authenticity. . . . With its attractive layout, decorative chapter headings, and clear readable text, GONE A-WHALING is as inviting as it is interesting and informative."
School Library Journal, Starred
"Whaling was a young man's game, or rather a young boy's. Using a variety of sources, Murphy makes it plain that the crews of whalers included a substantial number of youths barely out of childhood. Although presented from their perspective, the book is more than a collection of biographical vignettes. It is a substantive examination of the history of whaling, the socio-economic forces that supported it, the pro-cess by which whales were transformed into salable commodities-from oil to corset stays-and, finally, the environmental impact of reckless commercialism as technology increased the hunters' success. In this context, Murphy offers proof of the innate cruelty of the whale hunt, refutes legends of the whale's evil intent and vengeful nature-including that icon of American literature, Moby Dick-and comments on the decimation of many species through lack of regulation even today. Details of life aboard a whaler, including the ethnic composition of the crews, the role of the captains, families, and the development of the art of scrimshaw, add color and drama. The concluding chapter takes the reader into the twentieth century where cameras substitute for harpoons as spectators join whale watching expeditions. The book is enhanced by drawings, engravings, and photographs, and also features information about specific types of whales in boxed inserts. The appended bibliography is substantial, drawing on a variety of sources." Horn Book
From one of the most acclaimed writers of nonfiction for children, Invincible Microbe illuminates the seemingly unstoppable killer that's been haunting us for centuries: tuberculosis. Well-researched and including over 100 archival photos and prints, this compelling "biography" of a deadly germ is a must-read.
This is the story of a killer that has been striking people down for thousands of years:
tuberculosis. After centuries of ineffective treatments, the microorganism that causes
TB was identified, and the cure was thought to be within reachand#8212;but drug-resistant
varieties continue to plague and panic the human race. The and#8220;biographyand#8221; of this deadly
germ, an account of the diagnosis, treatment, and and#8220;cureand#8221; of the disease over time,
and the social history of an illness that could strike anywhere but was most prevalent
among the poor are woven together in an engrossing, carefully researched narrative.
Bibliography, source notes, index.
In the early days of whaling, whales were plentiful and it seemed that they would always fill the sea. When people realized how much money could be made from whales in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, entire species were wiped out in the rush to hunt these gentle and magnificent creatures. This account is an even-handed portrayal of the exciting, grisly, and sometimes profitable business of pelagic whaling, told from the perspective of young whalers through their detailed journal entries and letters. Glossary, bibliography,index.
An account of Robert Louis Stevenson's twelve day journey from New York to California in 1879, interwoven with a history of the building of the transcontinental railroad and the settling of the West.
*andquot;Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating?andrdquo;andmdash;Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewand#160;This is the story of a killer thatand#160;has beenand#160;striking people down for thousands of years: tuberculosis.and#160;After centuries ofand#160;ineffective treatments,and#160;the microorganism that causes TB was identified and the cure was thought to beand#160;within reachandmdash;but drug-resistant varieties continue to plague and panic the human race. The andquot;biographyandquot; of this deadly germ and the social history of an illness that could strike anywhere are woven together in an engrossing, carefully researchedand#160;narrative.
1793, Philadelphia. The nation's capital and the largest city in North America is devastated by an apparently incurable disease, cause unknown . . .
In a powerful, dramatic narrative, critically acclaimed author Jim Murphy describes the illness known as yellow fever and the toll it took on the city's residents, relating the epidemic to the major social and political events of the day and to 18th-century medical beliefs and practices. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia's free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city--and all his papers--while escaping the deadly contagion. The search for the fever's causes and cure, not found for more than a century afterward, provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this riveting true story of a city under siege.
An American Plague's numerous awards include a Sibert Medal, a Newbery Honor, and designation as a National Book Award Finalist. Thoroughly researched, generously illustrated with fascinating archival prints, and unflinching in its discussion of medical details, this book offers a glimpse into the conditions of American cities at the time of our nation's birth while drawing timely parallels to modern-day epidemics. Bibliography, map, index.
An upper-middle-grade biography on Noah Webster, a controversial political activist, the primary shaper of the American language, and author of the famous dictionary that bears his name. Illustrated with archival images.
First-hand accounts that include diary entries and personal letters describe the experiences of boys, sixteen years old or younger, who fought in the Civil War.
Vivid black and white photographs and background details add to the compelling wartime memoirs of Joseph Plumb Martin, a fifteen-year-old Connecticut farm boy who enlisted in the revolutionary army in the summer of 1776.
A description of the Battle of Gettysburg as seen through the eyes of nineteen-year-old Confederate lieutenant John Dooley and seventeen-year-old Union soldier Thomas Galway.
Every account of the American Revolution mentions Benedict Arnold and brands himcorrectlyas a traitor. Theres no question that Arnold, an American army officer, switched his loyalty to the British side. Over the years, however, historians, partisans, and gossips have added to Arnolds unsavory reputation by distorting, embroidering, or simply ignoring factual details.
In this informed and thoughtful account, Jim Murphy goes in search of the real man behind the traitor” label, rumors, and folktales that became part of the Benedict Arnold legend. Drawing on Arnolds few surviving writings and on the letters, memoirs, and political documents of his contemporaries, Murphy builds a fascinating portrait of a brilliant man, consistently undervalued by his peers, who made a choice that continues to reverberate through American history. Dramatic accounts of crucial battles and political maneuvers round out this lively biography of a patriot who could have been a hero.
About the Author
Jim was born in Newark, New Jersey, and earned a B.A. in English from Rutgers University. Over the years he has had such offbeat jobs as boiler repairperson, chainlink fence installer, roofer, and apartment cleaner, and has worked in a plastics factory, sold books, and been a "tin-knocker" on New York City skyscrapers, working thirty or so stories up on open steel. From 1970 -1977 he was the managing editor for Clarion Books. Murphy has more than twenty-five books to his credit. He is a two-time winner of both the SCBWI Golden Kite Award and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award, and received a Newbery Honor for his book The Great Fire (Scholastic). He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his family.