Nonfiction Wednesday – January 20, 2016


Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.

We’ve got another Canadian title on the blog this week!


Title: It’s Catching – The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes
Author: Jennifer Gardy, PhD / Illustrator:  Josh Holinaty
Publisher: Owl Kids
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Nonfiction

My Two Cents: This week we’re upping the “so gross it’s awesome” factor with a book all about infectious diseases! It’s actually much more palatable than it might sound, thanks in no small part to Josh Holinaty’s cute illustrations and Dr. Jennifer Gardy’s humorous text. In It’s Catching, kids are introduced to the microscopic world of germs and microbes, learning a bit about the history and science of pathology and epidemiology, and getting up close and personal with several different diseases, from the common cold to the terrifying ebola virus.


The book cleverly balances potentially frightening facts (“Measles is a big problem in the developing world, where it kills over 750,000 people every year”) with cartoon illustrations to create a text that is accurate and informative but still age-appropriate.

I also appreciate that the book starts with an introduction by the author, who happens to be a pretty cool woman. It’s always satisfying to be able to provide kids with real-world examples of women pursuing exciting, nontraditional careers, being successful, and challenging industry stereotypes (remember the “distractingly sexy” fiasco from a few months back?).

I do wish that the book included a bibliography or cited sources, both to give kids further sources for further research and to provide an example of properly cited work.

Still, that teeny-tiny critique aside, this Red Cedar Award-nominated ode to the weird and wonderful world of the microscopic makes for infectiously good reading.