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Science Quest: Killing Germs, Saving Lives: The Quest for the First Vaccines

Overview

The challenge for young readers: follow the scientific quest to finding the world's first vaccines—and move towards a future of saving lives worldwide.

Thanks to modern vaccines, many diseases, such as smallpox, cholera, and polio, have been virtually eradicated. Before the discovery of vaccines, however, epidemics killed thousands of people worldwide every year.

Killing Germs, Saving Lives traces the path to the creation of the vaccines that ...

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Overview

The challenge for young readers: follow the scientific quest to finding the world's first vaccines—and move towards a future of saving lives worldwide.

Thanks to modern vaccines, many diseases, such as smallpox, cholera, and polio, have been virtually eradicated. Before the discovery of vaccines, however, epidemics killed thousands of people worldwide every year.

Killing Germs, Saving Lives traces the path to the creation of the vaccines that revolutionized modern medicine. Young readers learn of the background to this historic quest through fascinating profiles of the men and women whose breakthroughs changed the world. Personal portraits of the scientists involved give aspiring young scientists a look at great figures like Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Florence Nightingale.

Readers will tour the germ-filled hospitals of the past, examine the current state of vaccine research, and look ahead to future developments in this fascinating scientific field.

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information. 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Chances are good that healthy children, parents and grandparents will crowd your Thanksgiving table this year, but less than 200 years ago this would not have been the case. Deadly diseases struck without warning and people did not know how to protect themselves from germs—or even what germs were. Chronicled here are the fascinating stories of people such as Edward Jenner, Louis Pasteur and Jonas Salk who "fought on the front lines in the first key battles against disease" and developed, respectively, the smallpox, rabies and polio vaccines. Author Phelan complements his text with a timeline, sidebars, period photos and illustrations, which provide context and give a good sense of the unsanitary conditions and dirty hospitals of the time. He also humanizes these great medical figures by sharing not just the details of their ground-breaking work but their motivation, often arising from childhood curiosity and/or a sense of personal loss. Indeed, three of Pasteur's daughters died of typhoid in childhood. A compelling work of nonfiction.
Children's Literature - Cathi I. White
Before there were vaccines, many people died from various diseases. However, during the 1800's the medical field began to make remarkable progress. The most significant turn of events for medical technology came when Edward Jenner accidentally discovered a vaccine for smallpox. Other scientists joined in the pursuit of finding cures or vaccines for the diseases that were prevalent in that time period. Louis Pasteur was one of the great contributors to medical society. He made many new discoveries that would help prevent the common diseases that plagued the people. Though he is well known for pasteurizing milk, he also became well known for other discoveries. He helped to control disease in the silkworms in France. He discovered the fact that doctors were actually spreading germs among their patients with poor hygienic practices. As a result, surgeon Joseph Lister was able to initiate a sterilization process during operations. Other scientists and doctors worked to discover more about the connection between germs and diseases. Readers will be fascinated to learn how vaccines were discovered for anthrax, chicken cholera, rabies, polio, and other diseases. The book progresses through time, from 1749 to the present, and gives the reader an idea of how medical history progressed. This book is easy to read and understand. Science or health teachers would benefit from sharing this book in the classroom. It is part of the National Geographic Science Quest series.
VOYA - Laura Woodruff
Today it is difficult to imagine a time when diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and polio routinely destroyed lives. Here Phelan traces the discovery of germs and the development of vaccines through the lives of the great scientists Jenner, Pasteur, Koch, Lister, Salk, and Sabin. Every advancement is historically placed within a continuous time line at the top of the text pages, making it easy for the reader to gain a broader perspective. In addition, sidebars and text boxes in the margins summarize and supplement concepts. A glossary, a source list of biographical and scientific Web sites for further investigation, and an index complete the volume. The series also includes discussions of the laws of motion, the structure of DNA, the discovery of radioactivity, and the development of digital transistors. This entry, despite the advanced nature of its content, has minimal text and is simply written. Although suitable for upper elementary students, the book could be used equally well with older students, especially those who have low reading levels. The marvelous color illustrations, in keeping with the publisher's high standards, make this skinny informational tome especially fascinating and enjoyable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792255383
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 8/8/2006
  • Series: Science Quest Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.22 (w) x 10.22 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Glen Phelan has been a teacher and editor, and has written of several books on a variety of science topics. Glen lives in the Chicago area.
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