Plagues and medical breakthroughs

Davis, Kenneth C.  More Deadly Than War: The Hidden History of the Spanish Flu and the First World War
Middle school, high school    291 pp.    Holt

Despite the overwhelming number of people killed by the great Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, it virtually disappeared from our national consciousness, not to mention our history books. Then, too, it's a history that is inextricably linked to WWI and the global movement of troops. Davis's volume does an admirable job of juggling both narratives, supported by a generous assortment of photographs. Timeline. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Modern History; Diseases--Influenza; Epidemics; History, Modern--World War I

Hooks, Gwendolyn  Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas
Gr. K–3, 4–6    32 pp.    Lee

Illustrated by Colin Bootman. Hooks cogently sketches the life and medical contributions of Vivien Thomas, best known for his successful treatment of tetralogy of Fallot, or "blue baby syndrome." An African American, Thomas faced much prejudice in his career, a theme that is deftly balanced with the clear exposition of the surgical procedure Thomas invented. Watercolor illustrations are staid but competent.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Thomas, Vivien; African Americans; Human body--Heart; Surgery; Medicine; Babies; Inventions and inventors; Technology; Diseases--Heart disease

Koch, Falynn  Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield
Gr. 4–6, middle school   
122 pp.    Roaring Brook/First Second

Science Comics series. In this volume of a continuing series exploring science topics via graphic-novel format, readers learn about plagues, their causes, and how they spread. A scientist communicates with different disease cells (pictured as a blobby face with appendages); this humorous artistic choice lightens a difficult topic. Behind the book's silly premise there's lots to learn from the detailed scientific discussions. Reading list, timeline. Glos.
Subjects: Medicine, Human Body, and Diseases; Epidemics; Graphic novels; Cartoons and comics; Microbiology

Marrin, Albert  Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918
Middle school, high school   198 pp.    Knopf

Between 1918 and 1920, three waves of a very aggressive influenza virus killed tens of millions of people. World War I was in full swing when the flu pandemic began, and it was abetted by the widespread movement of troops and limited medical knowledge. Marrin's narrative is enhanced by primary source quotations, black-and-white photographs, and maps, all revealing the toll the pandemic took. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Medicine, Human Body, and Diseases; Diseases--Influenza; Epidemics

Throp, Claire  The Horror of the Bubonic Plague
Gr. 4–6, middle school   
48 pp.    Capstone

Heinemann Infosearch: Deadly History series. This simplified overview introduces three major bubonic plague pandemics: the Plague of Justinian, the Black Death, and the Modern Plague. Also discussed is the introduction of insecticides and antibiotics to help curtail the disease today. Other important, non-pandemic outbreaks of bubonic plague are confusingly interwoven in the eleven short sections, which are peppered with illustrations, photographs, charts, and sidebars. Reading list, timeline. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Medicine, Human Body, and Diseases; Diseases—Bubonic plague; Diseases—Black Death

From the October 2018 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.
Horn Book
Horn Book

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