Against Invaders | Health and Human Body Series Nonfiction

Current series about health and the human body address a range of age-appropriate topics including healthy lifestyle, historical contrasts among past and present pandemics and plagues, and emphasizing scientific breakthroughs due to advances in technology.

Current series about health and the human body address a range of age-appropriate topics. Books for young readers focus on establishing a healthy lifestyle, eating a healthy diet, and understanding physical challenges and disabilities. Emphasis is placed on self-care, as well as supporting others with disabilities. Several series for older readers offer historical contrasts among past and present pandemics and plagues, using interesting historical photographs and documents. Other series emphasize scientific breakthroughs due to advances in technology.



Reinke, Beth Bence. The Common Cold. ISBN 9781663908193.
––––. COVID-19. ISBN 9781663908070.
––––. Head Lice. ISBN 9781663908117.
––––. Influenza. ISBN 9781663908155.
ea vol: 32p. (Health and My Body). Capstone/Pebble. Aug. 2021. Tr. $29.32.
Gr 1-3 –This series answers questions young children might have about colds, ­COVID-19, influenza, and head lice. Each book in the series describes a disease or health challenge, how it is transmitted, and how to treat it, prevent it, and stay healthy. The format of these books is inviting, with useful headings and subheadings as well as many color photographs that support and enhance the text. Vocabulary is clearly explained, used in the text, and included in a glossary. Information is presented in an interesting manner, with several surprising facts that add interest; for example, the droplets that spread coronavirus can stay in the air for hours. VERDICT Useful for informing young readers about health threats, this series is recommended for discussion and for independent reading.

Rusick, Jessica. Understanding ADHD. ISBN 9781532195716.
––––. Understanding Autism. ISBN 9781532195723.
––––. Understanding Blindness. ISBN 9781532195730.
––––. Understanding Deafness. ISBN 9781532195747.
––––. Understanding Dyslexia. ISBN 9781532195754.
––––. Understanding Physical Disabilities. ISBN 9781532195761.
ea vol: 32p. (Understanding Disabilities). Abdo/Big Buddy. Aug. 2021. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 1-4 –The books in this series clearly explain different disabilities such as ADHD, autism, blindness, and dyslexia. Readers learn the symptoms and behaviors associated with each, the impact of school on children with disabilities, the devices that support these children, how to befriend an individual with a disability, and enjoyable activities to share with this friend. Each book emphasizes the importance of using respectful language and respecting differences. Many colorful photos show children with and without disabilities having fun together. In addition, each book also features a successful person who has the disability. VERDICT Informative and upbeat, this series is an excellent source of information for children and provides useful guidance for becoming friends with children with disabilities. Recommended for both classroom and library use.

Twiddy, Robin. Color Blindness. ISBN 9781534538382.
––––. Deafness. ISBN 9781534538429.
––––. Dyslexia. ISBN 9781534538467.
––––. Using a Wheelchair. ISBN 9781534538504.
ea vol: 24p. (A Different World). Greenhaven/KidHaven. Aug. 2021. Tr. $24.60.
Gr 1-3 –Colorful photos and friendly, informative text explain what the world is like for children with conditions such as color blindness and deafness. For example, photographs show how a boy with red-green color blindness sees a movie differently than his friend who is not color blind. Similarly, photographs of a noisy street scene are labeled to show the varied expereinces of a deaf child and a hearing child. Other photographs show items that support people with physical challenges by showing different types of wheelchairs and different ways spaces can be made accessible for people who use them. The text and photographs beautifully promote understanding of physical challenges and how children deal with them. VERDICT Outstanding photographs, clear text, and an inviting format make this a standout series. Highly recommended for classroom reading and discussion, and for library collections.

Wood, John. Clever Carbs. ISBN 9781978523784.
––––. Fantastic Fiber. ISBN 9781978524019.
––––. Fierce Fats. ISBN 9781978523906.
––––. Powerful Protein. ISBN 9781978523975.
––––. Sweet Sugar. ISBN 9781978523821.
––––. Vital Vitamins. ISBN 9781978523869.
ea vol: 24p. (Brain Food). Enslow. Aug. 2021. Tr. $22.60.
K-Gr 3 –This series introduces readers to a healthy diets by distinguishing between foods that contribute to health and those that should be eaten in moderation. The photos are appealing and could be used as the basis of discussion but the written text raises concerns. First, definitions are sketchy (“Vitamins are found in food. Your body needs vitamins to work properly. There are lots of different vitamins we need...”). Second, there is a “small scientist” character who uses a “mood bar” rating various health indicators. ­Using this vauge diagnostic tool, he diagnoses dietary problems of children shown in the photos. ­VERDICT While the series might introduce this topic, it lacks ­basic information.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Eason, Sarah. The War Against Cancer. ISBN 9781427151278.
––––. The War Against Ebola. ISBN 9781427151292.
O’Brien, Cynthia. The War Against COVID-19. ISBN 9781427151285.
––––. The War Against Malaria. ISBN 9781427151308.
––––. The War Against Polio. ISBN 9781427151315.
Spilsbury, Louise. The War Against AIDS. ISBN 9781427151261.
––––. The War Against Smallpox. ISBN 9781427151322.
––––. The War Against the Flu. ISBN 9781427151339.
ea vol: 32p. (Wars Waged Under the Microscope). Crabtree. Jul. 2021. Tr. $27.60.
Gr 4-7 –Each book in this informative, well-designed series explains a war waged by scientists and health care workers to fight the spread of a different virus. Words like battle, fight, attack, and enemy shape these narratives of scientific breakthroughs made possible by increasingly powerful microscopes. The text is supported and enhanced by a variety of case studies; sidebars focusing on particular incidents, strategies, or studies; quotes from scientists; photographs captions that highlight important information or new research; and an “Under the Microscope” sidebar that features scientific advances in stopping the spread of viruses. VERDICT Attractive, varied, and fascinating, this highly recommended series provides substantial information about the challenges of combating harmful viruses.

Olson, Elsie. Culture Shift: Then and Now. ISBN 9781532195587.
––––. Medical Mobilization: Then and Now. ISBN 9781532195600.
––––. Testing and Treatment: Then and Now. ISBN 9781532195617.
Thomas, Rachael L. Crisis Control: Then and Now. ISBN 9781532195570.
––––. Media Matters: Then and Now. ISBN 9781532195594.
––––. Viral Spread: Then and Now. ISBN 9781532195624.
ea vol: 48p. (Pandemics). Abdo/Abdo & Daughters. Aug. 2021. Tr. $31.36.
Gr 4-6 –Each volume in this series contrasts the 1918 flu pandemic with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. In this way, the series supports the social studies standard time, continuity, and change. In addition to the then and now contrasts, each volume also studies cultural changes, the impact of media, global and local efforts to combat pandemics, and more. A strength of the series is the many historical photographs and documents included. However, these could be better integrated with the text by providing captions that direct readers to look for details or contrasts among photos. The text is clear, but there is repetition among the various volumes. Various sidebars, time lines, and a glossary promote understanding. VERDICT An informative series that will appeal to history buffs and be useful in social studies inquiries.


Upper Middle School to High School

Allen, John. The HIV/AIDS Pandemic. ISBN 9781678201029.
––––. The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. ISBN 9781678201043.
DuVall, Kathy. The Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. ISBN 9781678201005.
Lundquist-Arora, Stephanie. The Asian Flu Pandemic of 1957. ISBN 9781678200961.
Nardo, Don. Bubonic Plague and the Black Death. ISBN 9781678200985.
ea vol: 64p. (Historic Pandemics and Plagues). ReferencePoint. Oct. 2021. Tr. $31.95.
Gr 6 Up –The books in this series provide a great deal of information about past pandemics and plagues. Each book explains the cause of the disease, its spread, efforts to treat it and stop its spread, and societal effects. While these books lack the interesting graphics found in other series, they do provide strong historical background for understanding how medical science has progressed in treating infectious diseases. Standout volumes include Bubonic Plague and the Black Death, which contains many quotes from archival accounts as well as discussion of different historical interpretations of past events. The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 also contains numerous period photographs and quotes. VERDICT This series offers a solid historical background on different plauges, but offers fewer nonfiction features like case studies, graphs and tables, or spotlight features on scientists and historians. The information, however, is useful for inquiries and comparisons between past and present medical understanding.

Dinmont, Kerry. Virtual Reality in Health Care. ISBN 9781678201920.
Edwards, Sue Bradford. Robotics in Health Care. ISBN 9781678201883.
McCarthy, Cecilia Pinto. Bionics in Health Care. ISBN 9781678201845.
––––. Genetic Engineering in Health Care. ISBN 9781678201869.
Ventura, Marne. 3D Printing in Health Care. ISBN 9781678201906.
ea vol: 80p. (Hi-Tech Health Care). ReferencePoint/BrightPoint. Oct. 2021. Tr. $31.95.
Gr 5-9 –Books in this series introduce new and fascinating information about how technology is improving health care. All books follow the same “past, present, future” format, which provides readers with historical context, current uses of the technology, and visions of how this technology will be used in the future. Helpful headings and subheadings, short but information-packed sentences, and fascinating photographs make these books engaging. While the intended audience is reluctant YA readers, this series should have wide appeal. Two eye-opening titles are standouts. 3D Printing in Health Care informs readers about how bioprinting (printing with living cells) is used to create parts that can be used inside the body, as well as artificial joints and limbs. Robotics in Health Care explains the increasingly varied roles of robots that assist doctors in surgery; deliver medication, meals, and blood samples; clean hospitals; and assist with rehabilitation. VERDICT An excellent choice for classrooms and libraries that will strongly appeal to readers interested in technology.

Several series stand out. “A Different World” (Greenhaven/KidHaven) combines outstanding photography and informative text to show readers how the world appears to children with conditions such as deafness and dyslexia. The “Understanding Disabilities” series (Abdo/Big Buddy) not only explains disabilities, but also explains how to make friends with a child with a disability. Series for older readers emphasize taking a historical perspective on combating harmful viruses. The “Wars Waged Under the Microscope” series (Crabtree) uses many engaging nonfiction features to show how increasingly powerful microscopes are stopping the spread of harmful viruses. “Historic Pandemics and Plagues” (ReferencePoint) offers older readers an in-depth look at combating plagues and pandemics over time, while the “Pandemics” series for younger readers (Abdo/Abdo & Daughters) contrasts the 1918 flu pandemic with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. These series highlight many new ways to think about and understand health.

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