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Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  41 reviews
From the Sibert Honor–winning creator behindThe Unwanted and Drowned Citycomes a graphic novel of one of the darkest episodes in American history: the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.

New Year’s Day, 1918. America has declared war on Germany and is gathering troops to fight. But there’s something coming that is deadlier than any war.

When people begin to fall ill,
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  127 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The end was frankly a bit terrifying.
Other than one tiny mention of a Black nurse, this shows the flu only affecting white people. All other BIPOC are for the most part completely erased.
Lorraine McCullough
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ga-peach-20-21
History teachers, consider using graphic novels to help teach events to students. The visuals are wonderful. and it offers students another way to understand the significance of specific events.
Give me all the Don Brown books- seriously. As a graphic novelist, he can home in on the details that make a story important. My favorite will always be Drowned City though, forever and ever.

This graphic novel covers approximately 1918-1922 and is broken up into three "acts" to help understand and digest the story of a global pandemic. Incorrectly called the Spanish influenza, Brown focuses a lot of the story on the spread of disease during times of war and through the military, then he expands
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I sort of feel like....I'm not totally sure who Don Brown's books are for? Like this one...I guess it's a good intro to the topic of the flu but it's not like, an engaging narrative? It's less dry than a textbook but it's not exactly a story? The art is expressive but not gorgeous? Perhaps best used in a classroom setting? IDK I feel like I have read a few of his books and I'm always just left kind of wanting more...
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Read an ARC.
Good graphic nonfiction.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
So I read an advanced reading copy of this, and I meant to read it before the book came out. I didn't. But I've read it now, and I have some thoughts.

I learned more of the 1918 flu history by reading this! There were things I had forgotten and things I had never heard of. Specifically the history of the home defense nurses. I just finished reading the Radium Girls, and now I demand a book about the Home Defense Girls. Is there one? Do I have to write it? I'll do it. I've been wanting to go to
This graphic novel contains a solid recounting of the horrific "Spanish" flu epidemic centered around 1918. As such, it's not likely to be a cheerful read. The art reflects this, perhaps too well. The colors are dull, mostly sepia tones, with occasional flashes of other colors, mostly red. The art is fine--about as exciting as the color palette, but solid and mostly able to communicate the subject matter accurately. Even the text is a little dry. What pushes this book above the sum of its parts ...more
Amy (novelteahappyme)
A great non-fiction graphic novel detailing the Killer Flu of 1918. Nicely broken down into three Acts, this graphic novel details a dark episode in American history: the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. Author and illustrator Don Brown does an effective job sharing the history of this illness, the impacts on cities and towns, and the hometown heroes that helped take care of those infected. The illustrations are simple yet impactful, especially the frames detailing the multiplying effect the ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am always on the hunt for teaching books and this one is phenomenal! I was rivited by the story of the flu epedemic that accompanied the Great War. I knew of that epedemic but only of its existence and its severity. This book for young readers, written and illustrated by Don Brown, brought that flu epedemic to life for me and set it in time, helping to color and round out my knowledge of the years of 1917 through 1919. A look at the inside flap of the dust jacket tells me that Dan Brown has ...more
Liz Friend
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The story: World War I was drawing to its bitter close in the fall of 1918, but the "Spanish Flu" was just getting started. By the time the pandemic was over, more people had been killed by it than by the Great War. Here's the story of how scientists figured out, little by little, what caused this killer strain of influenza, and how to fight it--before another killer strain hits.

June Cleaver's ratings: this book is non-fiction, so June's ratings don't apply.

Liz's comments: graphic non-fiction
Amanda Sanders
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel is graphic. It tells the story of the 1918 flu pandemic. The author/illustrator shocks readers with descriptions of victims and dead bodies and staggering statistics. He talks about fake news being spread about the origins and famous people that survived it--which makes us wonder how the world would be different if they had not survived. The black and white illustrations were fitting. The idea of pandemics makes us all aware of how international travel has negative sides. This ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This non-fiction graphic novel provides a historical overview of the Influenza epidemic of 1918, often mistakenly referred to as the Spanish Flu. Brown traces the origin of the pandemic and explains how and why it spread around the world so quickly. He explains medical knowledge then and now, with a look at all of the remedies people tried. A fascinating look at a historical medical mystery. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

ARC provided by publisher.
Graphic novel by award winning author and illustrator Don Brown about the Spanish Influenza. I read an advance reader copy so it was lacking color and back matter. However, knowing Brown, I'm sure it is meticulously researched. The sample illustrations show his usual muted color palette.
It won't be one that students gravitate towards naturally, but they should read it as it's fascinating stuff and isn't discussed much in history classes.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well done graphic story of the devastating and still somewhat mysterious flu epidemic of 1918. Lots of details here that were new to me such as the various ways health officials treated or didn't treat the outbreak, its often erratic spread and some of the victims who survived their own case of the flu.

Reinforces how serious a disease flu is and makes me ever more thankful for the flu shot I just got!
Hal Mahaffey
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
More a history than a “story”, but it contains a lot of info about the origin and extent of this pandemic that I was unaware of. Terrifying ending. There is no reason to believe that this can’t or won’t happen again, and on a larger scale, thanks to the ease with which we can travel internationally.
Kristen Majkut
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Don Brown's graphic novels and his unique artistic style. I will purchase all of his non-fiction titles and look forward to them. I really liked the military facts about how the flu spread from military base to military base during the Great War.
Lisa Zinkie
Nov 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
This book will be great for an adult who wants the details of the Spanish Flu, but as a children’s book ... so dry and long and very precisely factual. I may have 1 or 2 who read the whole thing. And as pointed out by another reviewer, this is a very white book.
Lee Anne
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
A graphic novel for young readers that gives a concise overview of the 1918 "Spanish" flu pandemic. I've always wanted to read about this, but never found the right book. This reads like a magazine article (if you're an adult), so it satisfied.
Molly Dettmann
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
A solid intro to the killer flu of the early 1910s. The artwork was drab and the information was a little boring to get through for something that is so fascinating and has been done really well in some other recent young adult nonfiction. Overall this one was okay.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting and quietly heartbreaking, the narrative had some weaker parts, but did a great job explaining both the history and science behind this epidemic. Recommended for readers who like sad things or death ages 12-17.
Meredith Ann
I enjoyed reading about a topic I really knew so little about. I have a feeling this one will be an assigned history class reading but one that's enjoyable to teens. I did feel that it ended somewhat abruptly without more detail. Still, it will spark conversation among readers.
Edward Sullivan
Another great work of history recounted in comic format from Don Brown, this time chronicling the deadly Spanish Influenza epidemic that began in 1918 and killed millions around the world over the following few years.
Enthralling and well-sourced account of the 1918 flu pandemic, in comics format. Great for teenagers and adults but probably too upsetting for young children. Lots of information about the scientific investigations that took place during and long after the pandemic.
Brenda Kahn
Mostly fascinating explanation of the Spanish Flu pandemic of the early 1900s. I was unaware that Woodrow Wilson contracted the flu. Lots of typos in the arc. Looking forward to the finished full-color version. It ended rather abruptly though.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Nonfiction graphic novel about the Influenza that gripped the world in the early 1900s. The book takes place from 1918 - 1922. Well written and interesting. I learned much from this book. The illustrations are not colorful and bright but I don't think one would want that in such a serious topic.
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual 2019.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A solid nonfic graphic novel. Long enough to teach me a few things and short enough to keep me interested to the end. This book didn't blow my mind by any means, but I'm glad I read it.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Cool way to tell a story.
Allison Parker
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic nonfiction-comics title from Don Brown.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current