Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fever Year by Don Brown

Fever Year: the killer flu of 1918
Written and illustrated by Don Brown
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2019
Grades 4 up

In Brown’s latest informational book told with pictures (a nonfiction graphic novel) tells the story of the flu epidemic of 1918.  By the time the flu was finished, hundreds of thousands of people died. “Graves couldn’t be dug quickly enough.”

It all began New Year’s Day, January 1918. America was hoping for a victory since it had been at war since 1914. (World War One). The first victim was an army cook. In March of 1918, Albert Gitchell, reported sick to Camp Funston. “Soon, more soldiers made their way to the camp hospital, all complaining of fever, sore throat, and headache. More than a thousand fell ill over the next month. Forty-eight died.”

Brown tells the story in three acts, like a three-act tragedy. Act I : January – July 1918; Act II : August-December 1918; Act III : 1919.

As per usual for Brown, the text and his comic style meld perfectly, making the horror of the tragedy more powerful.

Back matter includes an epilogue, source notes, and a bibliography of books, periodicals, and online sources.

A book not to be missed.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library to write this review.

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