100th Post! Infections, Infestations, and Diseases

Infections, Infestations, and Diseases

By Shirley Duke

Rourke, 2011

Let’s Explore Science Series

ISBN #978-1-61590321-4

Grades 4-6


It’s my 100th post and I’m still blogging! All thanks to Anastasia Suen, who told me I should.

“I don’t have time to blog.” That’s what I said. After I took her class and got started, with lots of questions and frustrations, I found I liked having a way to keep a tiny bit of teaching and lots of science in my life. I did it on my own terms, and I kept going, delighted by the wealth of new books that relate to science. Now I’m part of the first round CYBILS panel for nonfiction picture books. I can’t wait to blog on many of them.

“Health means being free of disease or pain. Health can refer to the mind, spirit, and body. A body that is healthy can function properly. Muscles, organs, and other systems all work together to help a person live day-to-day life with relative ease. Bodily health is sometimes taken for granted—that is, until someone gets sick. What are the different ways a person can become sick?”

I wrote those words! I still can’t believe it. Even as I’m working on two new science books, I have to stop and remember that I’m writing science books—a goal I’ve desired for a long time.

This book also reminds me why I didn’t continue teaching kindergarten. I interned in kindergarten during my master’s year, but there was simply too much snot! I moved up through the grade levels as the job allowed, spending time in elementary school, middle school, and then high school. Each grade had its own good things, but through the years I taught mostly science, except for the few years an ESL certification beckoned me into a new district or school.

My two favorite grades were second, with its mellow seven year olds, and my year of sheltered biology. It’s amazing how closely science words in Spanish resemble the English words and those students were mostly a delight. I loved writing this book, and actually wrote it before You Can’t Wear These Genes, since genetics wasn’t my best subject (I became knowledgeable again before writing it!) and I’ve always loved health.


“Where’s the Kleenex?”

“I don’t feel well.”

How many times has a teacher moved back or a mom has hurried to get the thermometer? Or you’ve checked for nits, worried over vaccines, or stayed up most of the night with a sick child? This book is a starting point for kids interested in what makes you sick or those who are curious about the world and themselves.

The first three chapters address the meaning of the title, covering health and illness, infestations, and then diseases. The next chapter continues with how they are spread, prevention and treatment, and eliminated and emerging diseases. The book addresses current topics like bed bugs, HIV, and the H1N1 flu virus. It has a table of contents, glossary, index, and suggested websites to visit.

Health is important to everyone, and eager young scientists and kids alike should enjoy the fascinating facts in the book. Each book in the series has straightforward science and facts presented in an interesting way to readers. The appeal of each title is evident. The hardest part of talking about these two books? Trying to say them both in one breath!

My scientist blogger friend, Roberta, has a lovely review of my Genes book at her terrific blogs: Wrapped in Foil at and Growing with Science. Be sure to check out her excellent and fun ideas. 

Activity 1

Research how to wash hands properly. Create a poster to display the correct techniques and practice singing happy birthday two times to show children how long they should spend scrubbing them.

The CDC has a child-friendly set of directions.

The Mayo clinic has additional information about dos and don’ts for hand washing.

Activity 2 (for older kids)

Look at the comparisons of hands that have been washed or cleaned in various ways. Draw a conclusion about the most sanitary means of cleaning hands and write a paragraph about how to properly wash hands to remove bacteria.

You can find good information and pictures here.

Here you’ll find more interesting bacteria and hands information.

National Science Standard: organisms and their environments; develop an understanding of personal health

Book supplied by publisher to author (me!).

6 Responses to 100th Post! Infections, Infestations, and Diseases

  1. [...] Shirley Duke at Simply Science shares her own Infections, Infestations, and Diseases. [...]

  2. Valerie says:

    Congratulations on your new books and 100th post! :)

  3. Shirley Duke says:

    Thank you, Kathy. I appreciate your faith in me!

  4. Kathy Yank says:

    Shirley – this was so interesting! Congratulations on your 100th post and your burgeoning career – you’re in high demand and it’s easy to see why.

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