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Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,087 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Newbery Honor Book author Jim Murphy orchestrates with fact, science, technology, and sociology the testimony of survivors and victims to tell the harrowing story of the phenomenal blizzard that crippled New York City in March, 1888.
Hardcover, 136 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Scholastic Press
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 ·  1,087 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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This book is targeted at the YA market, so it isn't a super in depth history. Actually, that's one of the big pluses for me. Murphy seems to have covered everything I want to know & he did in a way that made me feel it. He included a lot of personal accounts & wrapped up with the effects that this storm had on our society.

We've had others that were bigger before & since, but this one caused a lot of changes as it highlighted systems that had been outgrown by the population & technology. For ins
Jason Koivu
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Re-accounting and accounts of the storm of 1888 that wiped out NYC. Stories of survival and death. Quick and enlightening.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That was the most amazing, wrenching, incredible 144 pages I have ever listened to!

A three day freak snow storm from Virginia up to the Canadian border and Michigan to the east coast that brought EVERYTHING to a stand-still. Much of the story was about the effect on New York City and the immediate country side but that was not all.

Not just what happened during the storm, but the long term legislation and disaster practices that were voted into existence afterward were discussed.

The national we
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
You won't get nonfiction that's much more detailed than what two-time Newbery Honoree Jim Murphy offers, and Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America is a story of all the little details that went wrong to set New York City and much of the Eastern Seaboard up for one of the most devastating natural disasters in the area's history. Weather forecasting was still an inexact science in the 1880s, but strides had been made. The invention of the telegraph allowed local weather observations to be shar ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this aloud to my children. We digested it a few chapters a week for three weeks. It was a good dose of reality without over-explaining too many sad details of the sorrows of the blizzard for my elementary age audience. We had very good discussions around the differences modern conveniences make contrasted with the way our reliance on them can cripple us at times, as well as general differences in technology and infrastructure through the past few centuries.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting read about 2 huge storms that merged and became one monster storm. Even though this is for kids, I liked how New York learned and adapted from the tragedy that followed this storm. They implemented changes so that the next time a storm of enormous proportion came through, they could minimize the tragedy, destruction, and death and help the clean up move faster.
A young adult novel about the New York blizzard that devastated New York in the late 1800's. I enjoyed it, though parts were harsh and described just how horrible it was for those who died during the storm. A great book for those who have read the Dear America books and want more information on historical disasters. ...more
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
It had been an unusually winter, so mild that Longfellow,
enjoying the warm sunshine, had just penned a poem
about dandelions. Two unusual weather patterns were about to combine and bring the East Coast to a standstill. For three days, beginning on March 12, 1888, one of the greatest blizzards in recorded American history was about
to paralyze everything.

Murphy, a Newberry Award winner, has combined the personal accounts of several individuals of different ages and social positions to bring a sens
Diane Wachter
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
AudioBk-B, Libby, Released 2/13/05, Listened 2/3/21, Narrator Taylor Mali, 3 Hours, Nonfiction, Juvenile, Snowstorm, East Coast, March 12-14,1888. I must admit, I had never heard of this particular storm. I thought the book was about a blizzard called "The Children's Blizzard" a true story I had previously read by David Laskin, which actually happened earlier in the same year, Jan. 12-13, 1888, in Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota. Both storms were brutal, with lots of damage, and many deaths ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, read2018
fairly superficial, but interesting to consider the logistics of blizzard prep, survival, and aftermath in a world without labor laws, much machinery, or easy communication.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay, so it was better than The Great Fire, but still not great. It gives the basic facts and some personal accounts. But I wanted more. I suppose it's useful as quick go-to for teaching purposes, but frankly it was no better than a long Wikipedia article. I've come to the conclusion that Jim Murphy’s writing is just not for me.

This book has only made me want to find a more in-depth book about the blizzard and New York’s history. Better yet, Erik Larson, can you write a book about this blizzard?
Brr! Reading this made me cold! Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America is a well-written account of the blizzard that struck the East Coast in March of 1888. Jim Murphy used newspaper articles, books, letters, and autobiographies written by survivors as sources for much of his information. I didn't find it quite as intriguing as The Great Fire or An American Plague, but still felt it was well worth reading. I was very interested to read about the changes that happened because of the blizzard, ...more
Aug 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book seems to have rave reviews, but I for one just thought it was okay. I'm always on the hunt for interesting nonfiction, and I usually find it in historical accounts. This was entertaining enough, and I wouldn't use a stronger adjective than that. I wasn't captivated or gripped by the account, perhaps in part because it is nearly unfathomable to me to imagine snow drifts up to a second-story window; I have lived in the south most of my life and had a hard time wrapping my head around col ...more
Aedan Padron
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My book is called Blizzard it's by Jim Murphy. It's about how in 1888 this blizzard hit all of northeast America and the story is told by different peoples prospective and their experiences of the blizzard and what they did in order to survive. The story also gives you information about the storm. I recommend this book if you like historic event/books. I like the book because it's being told through different prospective's from different people. ...more
Very nice -- gives a real feel for daily life in NYC in 1888, and tells fascinating details of the storm, following the true experiences of real people documented in newspapers and journals, some who survived, and some who did not.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Super interesting look at the major blizzard of March 1888 that slammed the eastern seaboard. Murphy does a great job sharing facts interspersed with the narratives of a number of different people impacted by the storm. Great narrative nonfiction choice for middle schoolers.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Fascinating! I saw a documentary on this historic event, but this book was better.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Historically accurate, written to inform and entertain - it does both. Well narrated and highly recommended.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
With an impressively ominous and suspenseful tone, Jim Murphy describes the meteorological, societal, and technological elements that created one of the greatest natural disasters to ever affect the American people: the monstrous blizzard of 1888. Through diligent synthesis of a wide variety of primary sources, Murphy uses personal accounts to tell the story of the storm. A seasick reporter in the New York Harbor, a seventeen year old girl traveling from Buffalo, and a hard-working factory emplo ...more
This is the third book that I've read by Jim Murphy and I think he does a great job bringing nonfiction alive for young readers. I've enjoyed all of the books and would like to read more.

That said, I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Great Fire, but that could've just been my mood.

I didn't know anything about this blizzard but it sounded pretty insane. I honestly can't even picture what it would've been like. Do we even have weather like this anymore or are we more capable of dealing with i
Valerie McEnroe
Someday I hope to read all of Jim Murphy's books. He combines facts, narration, and photos in a perfect blend. He often takes an obscure or little known bit of history and elevates it to prime importance. One of the reasons they are so compelling is that tragedy is usually at the heart. Often there's wrong choices made, leading to death for some and survival for others. Murphy always leaves you wondering, "What would I have done? Would I have been among the living or the dead?"

Blizzard! is about
Patrick Kelly
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
By: Jim Murphy

- [ ] A story about a massive and unexpected blizzard in the north east in the 1886
- [ ] Read by the great poet Taylor Mali
- [ ] People were unaware that a terrible blizzard was coming
- [ ] It was a violent storm
- [ ] Some brave children went out to go to work or school. Many others became trapped and stuck in the storm.
- [ ] Over 400 people died in the storm
- [ ] This shut down the east coast and lead many cities building subways, putting electrical wires underground
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I thought I was getting a book about the Schoolchildren's Blizzard but I was wrong. I checked out this book about the 1850s Blizzard of NYC instead from our school library.

It's oddly coincidental that I read this book during Winterpocalypse 2021. We've gotten more snow on the ground in the last couple of days than we've had in 10 years. We broke a 6-year snow drought. We're having rolling blackouts to preserve electricity (I'm on battery charge and my phone hotspot). We went below zero!

This book
Lora Reed
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a quick "easy to read" book that was informative and filled with pictures and drawings of this infamous blizzard that hit the eastern United States on March 12, 1888. There have been other blizzards as bad and even worse than this one but this is the weather event that changed many things in America - who forecast the weather which became the United States Weather Bureau, which eventually led to the use of radar, satellite, high-speed computers and to the 95% accuracy of forecasting wea ...more
Sydney Stockton
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Murphy tells a chilling tale of the storm that changed America. The author's representation of the history is somber during the tales of death and destruction. The images that are used in the book are pulled directly from the newspapers and articles of the time period. Each picture is accompanied with a sidebar detailing the significance of the illustration or photograph. Readers will trek the journey as they discovers the triumphs and failures of the citizens in and around New York City. Sadly, ...more
Camryn Grider
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Genre: Nonfiction - Sibert Award Winner
Awards: Sibert Award
Audience: Ages 9-14

A. Blizzard! The storm that changed America is about the monster blizzard that swept through the east coast, lasting four days in March 1888, resulting in the deaths of more than 400 people. Eventually, this storm led to the development of the modern day United States Weather Bureau.
B. The topic is presented in a child friendly way through the use of detailed pictures, as well as photographs and line drawings, in addit
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-american

Murphy does a wonderful job taking the many, many primary resources about this historic snow storm to create a powerful narrative that gives away nothing, leaving you in suspense for much of the account of who is going to make it out alive. Then he caps off the minute-by-minute account of the storm, made very human and personal by the tales of both victims and survivors, to show the far reaching effects this storm had politically and socially as people realized they had to make changes to styles
Keilah Singleton
Nonfiction book
In 2001 it won the Jefferson Cup Award, Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and was a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. In 2010 it won the Margaret Edwards Award.
It would be good for grades 4th to 8th.
The topic of the book is the Great Blizzard of 1888.
The topic is presented in a way that has easy sentences and more pictures than a usual nonfiction book. It also is presented in a chapter book form like many of the fiction books that children read.
The text features
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While this book is not a difficult read, there are so many ways this storm affected the US, not just at that time, but in the future too. A three day storm starting March 12, 1888 was not the worst snowstorm to ever hit the country nor was it to be the last. It's devistation would be profound. There would be storms which were greater, but America had learned her lessons about the need for city services, protecting the government and the president, expanding the knowledge and need for weather for ...more
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An American author of more than 35 nonfiction and fiction books for children, young adults, and general audiences, including more than 30 about American history. He won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2010 for his contribution in writing for teens. Jim lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, in a hundred-year-old house with his wife Alison Blank, a children’s TV produce ...more

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