Friday, October 12, 2012


In Invincible Microbe, Jim Murphy and his wife Alison Blank chronicle the history of one of the greatest killers in world history: tuberculosis.  They trace TB back to microorganisms in African soil and water 3 million years ago and follow it to the frightening drug-resistant strains of the disease that threaten us today.  Along the way, they explain how TB attacks the body, how it is spread, and the bizarre attempts throughout history of treating the disease.  Murphy and Blank make excellent use photographs and first-hand accounts to enrich the narrative. Readers obtain a complete picture of how tuberculosis has impacted society and what having the disease is like for the individual.

Jim Murphy is a seasoned non-fiction writer.  In his books American Plague, Truce, Blizzard and The Real Benedict Arnold he has shown that he can both inform and engage young readers.  Invincible Microbe continues the trend.  He and Alison Blank have crafted a fascinating tale that sustains younger readers’ interest.  They provide just enough information to thoroughly educate the reader without becoming to dull.  This book would work very well for classrooms looking for STEM titles. Students will enjoy discussing the various attempts to cure tuberculosis, and they can debate what needs to be done to combat the disease today.

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended for grades 5 and up

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