A Shot in the Arm!
A Shot in the Arm!

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Annotation: Award-winning author Don Brown explores the history of vaccines from smallpox to COVID-19 in this installment of the Big... more
Genre: Health
Catalog Number: #292432
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 144
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-75001-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9797-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-75001-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9797-9
Dewey: 500
Language: English
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5 Up Brown lays out the history of vaccinations in this relevant addition to the "Big Ideas That Changed the World" series. Narrator Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, an early Western champion of inoculation, marches readers through the history of smallpox, a highly contagious disease that claimed millions of lives all over the world, leaving survivors disfigured and blind. Born in 1689, Lady Mary had her own children inoculated, having learned of the practice from her time in the Ottoman Empire. When Princess Caroline of Wales discovered it, she commissioned an experiment on prisoners before having her own children safeguarded. This kicked off not only the normalization of inoculation in the Western world but also the critical research that led to safer methods of disease prevention, such as vaccinating people with the less deadly cowpox. Brown travels through time, covering the effective eradication of polio before arriving finally at the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout, he emphasizes there were always those who did not trust scientists and doctors. The U.S. Supreme Court even ruled in the 1880s that Cambridge, MA, had "the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members" by making smallpox vaccination mandatory. The blue and sepia tones add a nostalgic wash to the clean, clear layouts. Brown's decisive tone is at times firm, often playful, and never condescending. VERDICT Shedding light on a topic that's all too timely, this thorough chronicle of vaccination is essential for all libraries. Abby Bussen, Muskego P.L., WI
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Brown could be considered the format's premiere historian for young readers; his exhaustive research is always coupled with an understanding of human motivation and an inviting, unostentatious visual style, all while connecting the past to the world we live in now. It's never been more urgent than in his latest, which is nearly a direct sequel to his previous Fever Year (2019). He begins his look at the development of vaccines with the origin of smallpox (smallpox scars were found on the mummified remains of an Egyptian pharaoh!) and the disease's terrifying effects through the early eighteenth century, when our charming narrator, Mary Wortley Montagu, brought the idea of inoculations from the Ottoman Empire and popularized it in England. While tracing the work of several scientists (and cows!), Brown explicates the development of vaccines for the likes of anthrax, rabies, and polio and brings readers right back around to the eradication of smallpox. He includes stops along the way to look at the social resistance to vaccinations and the occasional but deadly missteps. And we end right now, with a note of hope for our current struggle against COVID-19. Simple visual flourishes, like a page full of graves to illustrate a death toll, have real impact, and copious back matter, including a time line, bibliography, and index, make for another insightful, erudite, and engaging work.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (2/1/21)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews (12/1/20)
School Library Journal Starred Review (3/1/21)
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 4-7

Award-winning author Don Brown explores the history of vaccines from smallpox to COVID-19 in this installment of the Big Ideas That Changed the World series A Shot in the Arm! explores the history of vaccinations and the struggle to protect people from infectious diseases, from smallpox--perhaps humankind's greatest affliction to date--to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting deadly diseases such as measles, polio, rabies, cholera, and influenza, Brown tackles the science behind how our immune systems work, the discovery of bacteria, the anti-vaccination movement, and major achievements from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who popularized inoculation in England, and from scientists like Louis Pasteur, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, and Edward Jenner, the "father of immunology." Timely and fascinating, A Shot in the Arm! is a reminder of vaccines' contributions to public health so far, as well as the millions of lives they can still save. Big Ideas That Changed the World is a graphic novel series that celebrates the hard-won succession of ideas that ultimately changed the world. Humor, drama, and art unite to tell the story of events, discoveries, and ingenuity over time that led humans to come up with a big idea and then make it come true.

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