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Claire Rudolf Murphy
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A daughter of the West, Claire Rudolf Murphy is the author of fifteen award-wining fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults, including Children of Alcatraz and I Am Sacajawea, I Am York: Our Journey West with Lewis and Clark. Her passion is writing stories about outsiders in American history, characters who have persevered over incredible odds. Her high school teacher’s love of history and her parents’ passion for politics and books inspired Claire to major in history at Santa Clara University.

Claire’s extended writing community has helped her persevere during twenty years in the business, including the faculty and students at Hamline University ‘s low residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, where she currently teaches. Check it out at

Formerly a secondary language arts teacher, Claire and her family lived in Alaska for twenty-four years. Many of her books evolved out of her fascination with the native cultures and gold rush history of the 49th state. She now resides in her hometown of Spokane where she continues to write, visit schools and teach creative writing workshops. Her children Conor and Megan, their friends, and Claire’s many nieces and nephews have given her insights over the years about kids and teens. Americans who have fought for equal rights in every arena continue to inspire Claire today.

When not writing and reading Claire enjoys sports and music, and building an energy efficient, sustainable home where she plans to write for many years.

Children of Alcatraz

Children of Alcatraz: Growing Up on the Rock
Walker Books, 2006
ages 7 to 12, ISBN 978-0802795779

Stories of real military, lighthouse, federal prison era and Indian kids who lived and thrived on the mysterious island, and the most famous prison in America.

Awards and Recognition
CCBC Choice List; San Francisco Chronicle’s Best children’s nonfiction book of the year

I Am Sacajawea, I Am York

I Am Sacajawea, I Am York:
Our Journey West with Lewis and Clark
illustrated by Higgins Bond
Walker Books, 2005
ISBN 978-0802789211

The two lost voices of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition have finally spoken. Without Sacajawea and York, the expedition would never have made it to the Pacific Ocean.

Awards and Recognition
Bankstreet Book of the year

Gold Rush Winter

Gold Rush Winter
illustrated by Richard Waldrep
Random House, 2004
grades 1 to 3, ISBN 978-0307264138

Five-year-old Klondy travels from South Dakota during the gold rush to find the papa she’s never met. Based on the real life adventures of Klondy Nelson.

Daughters of the Desert

Daughters of the Desert: Stories of Remarkable Women from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Traditions
with Sarah Conover, Mary Cronk Farrell,
Meghan Nuttall Sayres, and Elizabeth Wharton
Skylight Paths Publishing, 2003
ages 10 and up, ISBN 978-1594731068

Set in the Holy Lands, these stories feature the ancient women—daring, thoughtful, and wise—who played exciting roles in the early days of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These descendants of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar include Eve, Hagar and Mary, the mother of Jesus.

A teaching guide is available for this book.

Free Radical

Free Radical
Clarion Books, 2002
ages 10 and up, ISBN 978-0618111343

Luke’s All Star baseball summer in Alaska explodes when his mother reveals a secret from long ago that changes all their lives. A compelling story of guilt, justice, and forgiveness, and an excellent angle on the Vietnam War and its legacy.

Awards and Recognition
Booklist Top Ten sports’ book of the year; NYC Public Library, 2002 Best Books for Teens; Oklahoma and Nebraska book award finalist

Gold Rush Dogs

Gold Rush Dogs
with Jane G. Haigh
Graphic Arts Publishing, 2001
ages 8 and up, ISBN 978-0882405346

Features stories and adventures of real-life and fictional dog heroes of the northern gold rushes of 100 years ago, including Balto, Nero, and Baldy.

A teaching guide is available for this book.

Awards and Recognition
Henry Bergh Children's Book Award; Best Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library; Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

Children of the Gold Rush

Children of the Gold Rush
with Jane G. Haigh
Roberts Rinehart, 1999
Graphic Arts Publish - reprint edition 2001
ages 8 and up, ISBN 978-0882405483

Features stories and adventures of real-life children of the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes of 100 years ago.

A teaching guide is available for this book.

Awards and Recognition
American Booksellers’ Pick of the List, Alaska Northwest Books reissued edition 2001; American Booksellers 1999 Pick of the List; 2000 Willa Cather award—best juvenile nonfiction book of the West

Caribou Girl

Caribou Girl
illustrated by Linda Russell
Roberts Rinehart, 1998
preschool and up, ISBN 978-1570981456

The story of a traditional Inuit girl in Alaska who embarks on a journey to find the caribou who have disappeared from her tundra home. With the help of an amulet that belonged to her great-grandmother, a shaman, Caribou Girl becomes one of the herd and learns their ways.

Gold Rush Women

Gold Rush Women
with Jane Haigh
Graphic Arts Publishing 1997
ages 10 and up, ISBN 978-0882404844

Features 24 profiles of courageous women who shared the challenge of the northern gold rushes a century ago.

A teaching guide is available for this book.

Awards and Recognition
Nominated for 1998 South Carolina book award; Booklist —outstanding women’s history books; Named one of top 67 Alaska history books since statehood

A Child's Alaska

A Child’s Alaska
photos by Charles Mason
Graphic Arts Publishing, 1994, ISBN 0-88240-534-9
grades K-6, ISBN 978-0882404578

Following the seasons from one winter to the next, featuring the climate, wildlife, and typical activities of Alaskan children, an excellent source for units on Alaska.

Awards and Recognition
Nominated for Sequoyah Children’s book award; Parents’ Choice Award; Twentieth edition of the Elementary School Library Collection; Twentieth edition of the Elementary School Library Collection

Gold Star Sister

Gold Star Sister
Lodestar Books, 1994
Puffin paperback edition, 1997
ISBN 978-0140377446

While coming to terms with her grandmother's devastating illness, Carrie O’Leary uncovers a family secret about a great uncle who died mysteriously during World War II fighting in Alaska.

Awards and Recognition
Notable Children’s Trade Book in Social Studies; Child’s Study Committee Children’s Book of the Year

Prince and the Salmon People

The Prince and the Salmon People
illustrated by Duane Pasco
Rizzoli Books, 1993
reprinted by EWU Press, paperback edition, 2003
ages 8 and up, ISBN 978-0910055833

This retelling of a traditional Tsimshian Indian legend reveals the story of the chief’s son who travels under the ocean to find the salmon who have disappeared. It features a blend of Native American legend, art, and historical photographs.

A teaching guide is available for this book.

Awards and Recognition
Notable Children’s Trade Book in Social Studies

To the Summit

To the Summit
Lodestar Books, 1992
Harper Trophy paperback,1996
Scholastic Book Club edition, 1996
ages 10 and up, ISBN 978-0613089180

Teenager Sarah Jansen and her father have joined an expedition to climb Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America.

Awards and Recognition
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age; South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Finalist

Friendship Across Arctic Waters

Friendship Across Arctic Waters:
Alaskan Cub Scouts Meet Their Soviet Neighbors

photographs by Charles Mason
Lodestar Books, 1991
ages 8 and up, ISBN 978-0525673484

Photo essay book about the Scouts’ friendship trip to the Russian Far East and their adventures with the Young Pioneers.

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