Jim Murphy is celebrated for his engaging and carefully researched nonfiction for young readers. His more than thirty-five books include two Newbery Honor Books, The Great Fire and An American Plague (which also won the Sibert Award), and Blizzard!, which was named a Sibert Honor Book. Other awards include three NCTE Orbis Pictus Awards and three Jefferson Cup Awards.
Jim'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 include 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 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 his two energetic and playfully squabbling sons, an African water frog, six guppies, and a vast collection of books.