BREAKTHROUGH! by Jim Murphy tells the fascinating true story of the three researchers responsible for developing a procedure to treat “blue baby syndrome”.
Aimed at the middle grades and young adults, the engaging nonfiction narrative explores how three people came together to create a groundbreaking medical procedure to repair a severe type of heart defeat. What makes the book particularly compelling is that each contributor faced professional challenges. As an African-American, Thomas faced prejudice and as a woman, Blalock dealt with gender-bias.
Murphy is known for his effective use of primary source documents. While the book contains photos of the people involved and some images of medical procedures, it lacks the wealth of photographs, diagrams, and other illustrations that bring Murphy’s other works to life.
The book contains source notes, a bibliography, and an index that are useful in research. However, the narrative style will make it difficult for students to use for research projects unless they read the entire work.
Librarians will find that this book will appeal to students who enjoy narrative nonfiction related to science and medicine. However unlike some of his other books, it’s not likely to appeal to reluctant readers.
This title would be an excellent addition to the library’s growing collection of books that connect STEM with issues of diversity.
To learn more about the book, go to http://jimmurphybooks.com/.
Published by Clarion on December 8, 2015. ARC from the publisher.