Two-time Newbery Honor Book and Sibert Award winning author, Jim Murphy’s childhood consisted of thousands of baseball games with neighborhood kids, roaming the vast New Jersey Meadowlands and inventing various “adventures.” Growing up in an industrial town a stone’s throw from New York City, he and his friends would be explorers tramping through a river jungle one day; soldiers checking on the enemy in an abandoned factory the next. The world seemed a safe place and no one ever worried about getting lost or being bothered.
Jim didn’t have much time for or interest in reading — until a teacher named a book the students were absolutely forbidden to read. Rushing to see what the fuss was all about, Jim first read the forbidden book and then kept on reading — anything he could get his hands on.
After attending Rutgers University and doing graduate work at Radcliffe College, Jim got a job in juvenile publishing. Starting as an editorial secretary, he worked his way up to Managing Editor. He then left to devote himself to his own writing, and published his first book, Weird and Wacky Inventions, in 1978. Jim’s varied interests, his voracious appetite for reading about subjects he finds interesting, and his immense skill as a researcher have helped him create a wide range of entertaining, provocative and multi-layered books for young readers.
Jim is the author of more than 30 books about American history. His work has received many awards including:
- 2010 Margaret A. Edwards Award
- 2 ALA Newbery Honor Book Awards
- ALA Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
- ALA Robert F. Sibert Honor Book Award
- National Book Award Finalist Medal
- 3 NCTE Orbis Pictus Awards
- 3 Jefferson Cup Awards
- 2 SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award
- The Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild Award for Distinguished Nonfiction
- Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
His titles also appear on innumerable Best Book lists from organizations and journals like the American Library Association, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist.
Jim lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, in a hundred-year-old house with his wife Alison Blank, a children’s TV producer and children’s book author and editor, his two talented musician sons, a regal mutt, an African water frog that will live forever, and a house vast collection of books.