Tag Archives: Pandemics

History Repeats: Past Pandemics

17 Jun

We cannot lie to ourselves and others that COVID-19 or what is known as the novel coronavirus is not on our minds; it can be nerve-wracking.  I wanted to use this as an opportunity to help others to use our online materials to understand that history repeats itself, which means that we will get through this together. Here I have created a YA nonfiction booklist on this subject.

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
By Jim Murphy

One epidemic that is unique to the history of Philadelphia is the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. In this book, the reader is introduced to historical accounts of survivors, victims, and service heroes. Murphy gives the reader a tour of the anxieties and mistakes that were made during the summer of 1793. He even makes sure to examine how societal, political, and historical factors come into play during this pandemic with pictures of historical documents and photographs. You can borrow An American Plague as an ebook from Hoopla, eLibraryNJ, eBCCLS.

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat
by Gail Jarrow.

The Red Madness is a historical event in the early 19th century that affected 3 million people and resulted in 100,000 deaths in the American South. It was a mystery as to how it was spread and how to cure it. Jarrow echoes a word of caution on how those that are held of lesser value can be overlooked in a time of need and this can result in everyone’s undoing. Be sure to keep in mind the more at risk individuals during the time of COVID-19, such as the homeless, the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and the undocumented. Because the Pellagra Epidemic or “Red Madness” happened first amongst the population less cared about, such as prisons and orphanages, the disease was not tackled from the beginning. This mindset changed when it started to grow past prison walls and into whole towns! The book elaborates on how this epidemic was taken care of. You can borrow it as an ebook from Hoopla

Pandemic!: How Climate, the Environment, and Superbugs Increase the Risk
by Connie Goldsmith

 Pandemic, printed in 2018, elaborates how human error will (not can) contribute to the next pandemic. Now that we are in the middle of a Global Wide Pandemic, the reader can have a better perspective on the current situation with scientific research and testimonials. Yes, one would have to take in the information skeptically, but it does instill hope in the reader. The last chapter talks about what you, as an individual, can do to contribute to the SOLUTION. I think to hope to end this and even prevent a future outbreak is what we as a global community need.

You can share your story during this pandemic to inspire people in the future; click here to learn more.

Teens and children can join us reading all summer long with our Summer Reading Program! We also have a Summer Reading Program for Adults!

Written by:
Elbie Love
YA Library Associate

Historical YA Fiction Dealing with Pandemics

10 Jun

Events like COVID-19 have happened in the United States before! They just had a different name like the Yellow Fever Epidemic or the Spanish Flu. Regardless of its name, sicknesses like this have many of the same devastating effects on the people exposed to them. Here are two historical fiction YA books that can give you a new perspective on how people in the past fought their version of COVID-19. 

A Death-Struck Year
by Makiia Lucier
Death Struck Year

World War I is happening overseas, and the Spanish Flu is in town. Walk with Cleo on her journey of survival and coming of age in A Death Struck Year. She was stranded in her Oregon town with no one; her parents died years before, and her brother is in another city. A quarantine is enacted in her village. She learns of her mortality through her volunteer work with the Red Cross. Cleo goes door-to-door knowing that she’s putting herself In harm’s way, but can’t help but help others. 

Fever, 1793
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fever 1793

 The Yellow Fever of 1793 is seen through the eyes of a teenage Matilda Cook in Fever, 1793. It was not enough that America had just gained its independence from Britain only ten years before. An epidemic runs rampant in what was then the capital of the United States, Philadelphia. People were getting sick, and no one knew how it was spreading or how to fight it. Matilda’s mother sends her to live with family outside of town but is turned away because of quarantine orders. When Matilda gets sick, she learns through the experience, how much this disease impacts the city. Just as she recovers, her widowed mother gets sick. The reader gets to see Matilda learn to grow up fast and even risk helping others in a time of chaos. A great nonfiction book to pair with this fiction book choice is An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy that is also available on eBook through Hoopla and eLibrary NJ.  Both eLibraryNJ and eBCCLS also offer Fever, 1793 as a digital audiobook.

Interested in sharing your own story during pandemic; click here to learn more.

Written by:
Elbie Love
YA Library Associate

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