Germy Science: The Sick Truth About Getting Sick (and Staying Healthy)

Kids Can. (Gross Science). Oct. 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781525304125.
Gr 4-8–Germs are everywhere, explains Kay in this accessible and comprehensive exploration of the world of germs. After describing how small germs are and how many live on our bodies, Kay explains that the word germ is a general term that encompasses four types of organisms (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses). Kay then focuses on the discovery of germs and their connection to illness. The author explains how our immune systems protect our bodies from harmful germs and shares the additional steps we can take to protect ourselves. Readers are introduced to the history of vaccination and inoculation (dating as far back as 2,000 years with the Chinese efforts to prevent smallpox). “Germs that Changed History” is the title of one particularly fascinating chapter that focuses on various pandemics (including COVID-19) and plagues that have had a profound impact on the course of history. The final chapter explores the future of germ research and offers possibilities of what is to come, such as studying industrial uses for germs, like using bacteria to make fuel cells or new types of plastics. The accompanying illustrations are clever, colorful, and humorously match the spirited tone of the text.
VERDICT A great combination of scientific information, coupled with a bit of historical epidemiology, resulting in a highly entertaining and informative introduction to germs. Recommended for middle school libraries.

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