Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

This month I am challenging myself to read outside my comfort zone and experiment with genres I do not read often. (This explains why I read the graphic novel Bone earlier.) This also explains why I just completed The Great Fire, an informational book about the 1871 fire that destroyed the city of Chicago. I had always heard about "The Great Fire," but I never learned about it while I was in school. While reading the historical fiction book A Long Way from Chicago, the Great Fire was mentioned, and I decided to learn about it once and for all.

Author Jim Murphy helped my fiction-loving self by writing this nonfiction book as a narrative. Instantly I was able to "get into" this real-life disaster story. By relying on many primary sources, Murphy is able to describe the fire from the points of view of people who actually experienced it. As I was reading, I was reminded of the TV news footage of 9/11 New York City when the Twin Towers were attacked by terrorists. Terrifying stuff!

Known for his award-winning historic nonfiction photo essays, Murphy does a great job rekindling the Great Fire and allowing readers to experience it for themselves, both through his writing and through the many drawings, maps, and photos throughout the book.

I recommend this book to upper elementary lovers of history, readers of nonfiction, or people like me who want to challenge themselves to try out the nonfiction genre.

By Mrs. N.

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