The Deadliest Diseases THen and Now

The Deadliest Diseases THen and Now
Age Range
Release Date
October 05, 2021
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Perfect for young readers of I Survived and the Who Was series! Packed with graphics, photos, and facts for curious minds, this is a gripping look at pandemics through the ages.
The deadly outbreak of plague known as the Great Mortality, which struck Europe in the mid 1300s and raged for four centuries, wiped out more than 25 million people in the course of just two years. With its vicious onslaught, life changed for millions of people almost instantaneously.

Deadly pandemics have always been a part of life, from the Great Mortality of the Middle Ages, to the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, to the eruption of COVID-19 in our own century. Many of these diseases might have seemed like things to read about in history books -- until the unthinkable happened, and our own lives were turned upside down by the emergence of the novel coronavirus.

As we learn more about COVID-19, we may be curious about pandemics of the past. Knowing how humans fought diseases long ago may help us face those of today. In this fast-paced, wide-ranging story filled with facts, pictures, and diagrams about diseases -- from plague to smallpox to polio to flu -- critically acclaimed Sibert Honor author Deborah Hopkinson brings voices from the past to life in this exploration of the deadliest diseases of then and now.

Editor review

1 review
Timely Nonfiction
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
This is the first book in "The Deadlist" series. In a nicely formatted and illustrated book (available in hardcover and paperback, which will probably show up at book fairs), we see the evolving history of epidemics, starting with extensive coverage of the Great Mortality in the 1300s, with an overview of a few earlier incidents. It was interesting to hear that this was what the epidemic was referred to at the time; we tend to call it the Black Plague. I learned more about this event than I thought it possible to know, and the book continues with further information about other diseases and the people involved in dealing with them, like Dr. Wu Lien-teh, a Chinese doctor at the beginning of the 20th century whose work influenced how we dealt with Covid-19.
Good Points
The 1918 flu also gets good coverage, and there's an overview of other diseases like smallpox, polio, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. this is well-formatted for easy reading, and conversational in tone. Scholastic Focus has come out with some interesting nonfiction titles lately which I very much enjoyed.

The fact that this is available in paperback makes it a great choice for readers who are really interested in information about other periods of history that had to deal with pandemics. Children struggle to make sense of their world, and need lots of information about COVID and other diseases so that they can understand what is happening. The historical perspective is helpful, because it can assure them that as horrible as this event is, the world will survive.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Hurricanes Then and Now, which is a much needed book in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
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