Children’s Book Week, established in 1919, is not only a celebration of books, but of connection. It is a vehicle to unite kids and adults with books, authors, and illustrators in order to foster a love of reading. We are inspired by educators, librarians, booksellers, parents, and caregivers and the creative ways they find to connect with kids every day. Because of that, we have created a more engaging Children’s Book Week experience for all in 2021!
All week I’ll be sharing various children’s books with you. For activities and resources for your children, be sure to check out Every Child A Reader’s website, HERE. To see previous years’ Children’s Book Week features, click HERE.
JUNE ALMEIDA, VIRUS DETECTIVE
The Woman Who Discovered the First Coronavirus
By: Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by: Elisa Paganelli
Published: March 15, 2021
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
I’m guessing most of you haven’t heard of June Almeida, or at least not before coronavirus took over our lives in the last year. Even though Almeida is no longer alive, her research has played a huge factor in doctors and medical researchers understanding how coronaviruses affect the body.
June grew up in a modest home in Scotland, but had a strong interest in science and learning. When she was ten, her younger brother, Harry, became very sick and died. June thought of her brother often and her passion for science grew. She also loved reading and photography, especially noticing small details in her photos. Even though she had to leave school at the age of sixteen to help contribute to the family, she applied to a hospital and got a job in the lab. She was mostly self-taught and eventually became a much sought-after scientist.
Because of her attention to detail with photography and using a microscope that took photos of samples, she was able to realize that blobs were actual a virus that caused people to have nasty colds. Because the virus in the microscope looked like it had a crown around it, the virus was named coronavirus. Corona is Latin for crown. I personally found this book so interesting as I hadn’t heard of June Almeida before.
Even though this is a picture book, it is more appropriate for elementary-aged children. There are really wonderful illustrations that add a lot of detail and interest to the story. I especially think children will like seeing what the coronavirus looked like to June in the microscope.
If your children or students have questions about where the coronavirus came from or how doctors are learning how to treat the virus, this is an excellent book that explains things in easy-to-understand terms. Keep in mind this book doesn’t talk about COVID-19 specifically, but how the virus was found many years ago. It’s more a biography of Almeida’s life and her research that happens to include finding the coronavirus.
The end of the book includes a timeline of June Almeida’s life and a biography of June written more for adults. There is also a bibliography of resources if you are interested in learning more.
Check out the book trailer:
Suzanne Slade is the award-winning author of more than 100 books. An engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about groundbreaking women in science. Her book, ASTRONAUT ANNIE was read by astronaut Anne McClain aboard the ISS for Story Time from Space. Suzanne lives in Libertyville, Illinois. For more, check out her website, HERE.