Thursday, December 3, 2015


Jim Murphy is one of my go-to authors for quality non-fiction, and I am always excited to see that he has a new book coming out. 

Breakthrough!  How Three People Saved "Blue Babies" and Changed Medicine Forever is Murphy's latest book and is as interesting and well researched as his other non-fiction books.

This is an inside look at the first heart surgery, a breakthrough that has impacted the lives of thousands since it was first pioneered.

Murphy hooks the reader by sharing a little bit about an eighteen month old girl who is severely underweight and whose heart has not developed correctly. The only chance she has at life is a surgery never before performed on humans.

Then Murphy provides information on three people who can change this girl's life:  Dr. Alfred Blalock, Dr. Helen Taussig, and Vivien Thomas.  Blalock and Taussig are highly skilled and trained doctors, while Tomas has never gone to college.  Because he is African American people around the hospital often mistake him for a janitor. Yet, he is a critical component of this trio.

Photographs help bring this story to life for readers, and the text is accessible and written as a story to help readers really understand and get into this impressive medical development.

I've already pre-ordered a copy for my elementary school library, but it is perfect for middle school readers as well, and as an adult I also enjoyed reading Breakthrough and learning more about this topic.

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