Nightmare Plagues is a compelling series from Bearport Publishing. I was instantly intrigued with the titles—especially since these are not topics that I have come across much in children’s literature. There are six books in the series—Bubonic Plague: The Black Death!, The Flu of 1918: Millions Dead Worldwide!, Malaria: Super Killer!, Smallpox: Is it Over?, Tuberculosis: The White Plague!, and Typhoid Fever: Dirty Food, Dirty Water! Written on a fourth grade reading level, the series is geared for grades 4-9.
I found it a challenge to narrow it down to two titles to preview since they all are so fascinating! The two titles I reviewed, thanks to Bearport’s generosity, are Bubonic Plague: The Black Death! and The Flu of 1918: Millions Dead Worldwide!
Bubonic Plague: The Black Death! (by Stephen Person)
Beginning with a mundane act—removing a dead rat from a basement—an entire neighborhood ended up being quarantined due to a plague outbreak! This happened in 1924 in Los Angeles, California! People do not usually associate the Black Death with modern times, but as author Stephen Person reveals—it is still alive and deadly. This account is used to introduce the Plague pandemics of the past. Person explains how it developed, how it was transferred from person to person, what the living conditions were, how it was treated, and much more! The history of this deadly disease comes full circle with another incident—even more timely—that occurred in 2007. A park ranger caught the disease from a dead animal he had handled, and he died in mere days. Fortunately, there was no mass outbreak in this case. Bubonic Plague: The Black Death! explains the historic and scientific aspects of this bacterial infection in a straight-forward manner that children can understand. Building on the written anecdotes, the photographs, artwork, and other graphics help show the relevant and human aspects of this lethal disease. Overall, this book is an informative and engaging read.
The Flu of 1918: Millions Dead Worldwide! (by Jessica Rudolph)
In the fall of 1918, five year old Donald Jacobi arrived home from school feeling ill. His parents quickly suspected it was Influenza. As the virus ran its course, it seemed unlikely that the young boy was going to live through it. Amazingly, he did recover. Many others in 1918 were not so fortunate though. This strain of the virus likely began at an army camp in Kansas but quickly spread throughout the country and eventually the world as soldiers were sent to Europe to fight in World War I. Author Jessica Rudolph uses this background information to shed light on symptoms, conditions, prevention methods, and worldwide consequences of this critical outbreak. She also brings this disease into the modern world where vaccines and treatments help minimize and even prevent the flu pandemics experienced in the past—though we are not completely immune from them. Like the previous book, there are many photographs and visuals to help round out this topic. Rudolph does a great job making his historical event gripping and timely.
I highlight recommend both these titles for pleasure or to compliment a unit in science or history. To find out more about this series and many others for children of all ages, go to Bearport Publishing.
This post is part of the Nonfiction Monday round up, hosted by 100 Scope Notes and Hip Homeschool Hop.