81 pages 2 hours read

Jim Murphy

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Nonfiction | Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2014

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An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

  • Genre: Nonfiction; middle grade history
  • Originally Published: 2003
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1130L; grades 5-7
  • Structure/Length: 11 chapters; approx. 176 pages; approx. 3 hours, 46 minutes on audio
  • Central Concern: This narrative nonfiction book takes a deep dive into Philadelphia society during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. The author focuses on how public health intersected with urban power dynamics, race, and class in Philadelphia, paving the way for major advancements in public health and medicine.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Racism; social class; epidemics; death and dying

Jim Murphy, Author

  • Bio: 1947-2022; born in Newark, New Jersey; studied English literature, history, and art history at Rutgers University; set records competing in track and field while in college; worked as an assistant editorial secretary at Clarion Books, later promoted to managing editor before leaving to write full-time in 1977; winner of the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in young adult literature; wrote more than 35 books for children and young adults
  • Other Works: Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America (2000); The Real Benedict Arnold (2007); A Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom (2009); The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution (2010)
  • Awards: National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (finalist; 2003); Newbery Honor Book (2004)