The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now (The Deadliest #1, Scholastic Focus)

The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now (The Deadliest #1, Scholastic Focus)
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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. Filled with more than 50 period photographs and illustrations, charts, facts, and pull-out boxes for eager nonfiction readers.

Editor review

1 review
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Learning Value
With a growing concern over wildfires and a plethora of fiction books on the topic, including this author's Into the Firestorm: A Novel of San Francisco 1906 (2006), this is a timely read and a great follow up to the other two books in this series, Deadliest Diseases and Deadliest Hurricanes.

There are three sections to the book (and a little over 200 pages, just the perfect length). The first covers Great Midwest Fires of 1871, the second Twentieth Century Fires including Chicago, San Francisco, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and the third chapters deals with fires of the 21st century. Considering we are only 22 years in, there have been far too many fires.
Good Points
The stories are all told in an engaging, fast paced way, and the inclusion of some period drawings, maps, and photographs help spark interest. There are lots of additional information about a variety of topics, such as the Menominee Tribe, the National Fire Protection Association, how earthquakes are measured, and even a note about primary source letters and an encouragement to young readers to write one! There are fun facts, like the Chicago City Council's 1997 goodwill resolution exonerating Mrs. O'Leary and her cow from all blame in the fire of 1871, and bold faced text for words that are listed in the glossary at the end of the book. There are a few internet resources on selected topics as well.

I especially liked how Hopkinson covered different aspects of the aftermaths of these fires, like how the Chicago and San Francisco Fires disproportionately affected economically disadvantaged communities; I had just learned in Goldstone's Days of Infamy how the Chinese American population had to stand their ground to keep from being moved to inferior land in San Francisco. The Triangle Fire is my favorite Horrible Historical Event, so seeing how it changed labor practices is always interesting.
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