Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Stuart J. Murphy  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1942 in Rockville, Connecticut


Illinois Connection

Murphy lived in Evanston for a time.

Biographical and Professional Information

Stuart J. Murphy is an education consultant whose "MathStart" books for HarperCollins have helped kick-start a new approach in teaching math skills. At more than fifty titles strong, the series is graded in three levels and aimed at young children. Murphy's idea is to present math concepts such as comparing, counting, matching, sequencing, fractions, adding, and subtracting, among dozens of others, in the context of stories. Murphy served a long apprenticeship before inaugurating his popular math series. Graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1964, he served as the art director for the magazine The Art Gallery for three years before joining the textbook company Ginn and Company as a designer. In 1971 he became art director for Ginn, a position he held until 1980. In that year he cofounded Ligature, Inc., an educational research and development firm that worked with publishers to conceptualize and prepare high quality books for U.S. schools. During these years he worked on social studies projects as well as math books.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- MathStart series

Top-Ten Nonfiction Series for Young Children, Booklist, 1999 Slugger's Car Wash

Best Children's Book of the Year, Bank Street College of Education, 2003Less than Zero

Best Book, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Sea, and Science Books and Film, 2004 Other Awards:Mary Alexander Award, Chicago Book Clinic, 1992 W. A. Dwiggins Award, Bookbuilder of Boston, 1993