Jim Murphy wins 2010 Edwards Award

Contacts: Macey Morales/Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations


mmorales@ala.org /


For Immediate Release

January 18, 2010

BOSTON - Jim Murphy is the recipient of the 2010 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for “An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793”; “Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America”; “The Great Fire”; “The Long Road to Gettysburg”; and “A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy.” The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the award today at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, held Jan. 15 – 19 in Boston.

Murphy’s well-researched books bring history alive through multiple narratives involving young people. Primary sources, maps, photos, illustrations and dialogue reveal the drama of historical events, making Murphy’s books fast-paced reading of particular interest for young adults. The reader participates in the lives of these individuals and the events that shaped history.

“An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793,” published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, tells the story of the devastating course of the epidemic and highlights the heroic efforts of some, and the ignorance of others, to curb this disease that has yet to be eradicated. “Blizzard! The Storm that Changed America,” published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, tells the chilling story of the three-day 1888 storm that crippled the East Coast. “The Great Fire,” published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, reveals the myriad events that led to the catastrophic fire that destroyed much of Chicago in 1871. “The Long Road to Gettysburg,” published by Clarion Books, details perspectives of young soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and the events that culminated in the Gettysburg Address. “A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy,” published by Clarion Books, follows 15-year-old Joseph Plumb Martin, from his enlistment through the many battles and hardships of the American Revolution.

“Jim Murphy’s excellence in writing gripping nonfiction allows readers to realize that young people do not stand by but actively participate in history,” said Edwards Committee Chair Maren C. Ostergard.

Jim Murphy will be honored at the YALSA Margaret A. Edwards Award Luncheon and presented with a citation and cash prize of $2,000 during the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, June 24 - 29. The award is sponsored by
School Library Journal.

Members of the 2010 Edwards Committee are: Chair Maren C. Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.; Roxy L. Ekstrom, Schaumburg (Ill.) Township District Library; Katherine H. Fitch, Rachel Carson Middle School, Herndon, Va.; Cathy Lichtman, Plymouth (Mich.) District Library; and Mary Anne Nichols, Kent State University School of Library and Information Science, Kent, Ohio.

The award is named in honor of the late Margaret Alexander Edwards, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults. Through her work at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Edwards demonstrated that only through literature would young adults move beyond themselves into a larger world.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to

www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists .

For information on the Margaret A. Edwards Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit