Thursday, August 5, 2021

Dr Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America's Doctor by Kate Messner, illustrated by Alexandra Bye

Dr. Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became
America's Doctor
written by Kate Messner, illustrated by Alexandra Bye
Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2021, 48 pages

For a lot of people, it felt like the world turned upside down in March 2020 as cases of COVID-19 began to rapidly spread and sometimes it felt like no one in high places cared. But, there was one person who did care - Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But who exactly is this quiet unassuming man with the big smile and characteristic Brooklyn accent? Author Kate Messner apparently asked herself the same question and set out to find the answer and what she discovered was this...

Anthony Fauci was a curious boy, always asking questions about the things he observed in the world and how they actually worked. Lucky for him, Anthony's father was very supportive, helping him with homework when it was needed, and telling him to not get discouraged, to think carefully and try to work problems out. Important advice that Anthony carries with him to this day. His father owned a pharmacy and Anthony worked for him delivering prescriptions to neighborhood people. He also figured out speed was his friend, allowing him to join the older, tougher kids playing stickball in his Bensonhurst neighborhood and later to be on with his high school's basketball team, despite being shorter than most players. 

In high school, Anthony also decided to become a doctor. After graduating college and medical school (first in his class), Anthony went to work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he studied new diseases as they emerged, searching for answers to help people who became sick. Aids, Sars, Ebola, West Nile were all new diseases that needed answers and either cures or vaccines. Then, in 2020, COVID-19 arrived in the United States. 

By now, an expert in his field, Dr. Fauci knew people wanted answers and they wanted them quickly. But, as COVID-19 spread and more and more people became sick, it seemed to were no answers. But, Dr. Fauci knew there had to be a solution. 
Pretty soon, there were guidelines for people to help contain the virus. Dr. Fauci consulted with researchers and doctors around the world. Finally, in less than a year, a vaccine was ready. Maybe life could get back to normal again...until the next challenge. But he was ready for it.

Dr. Fauci: How a Boy From Brooklyn Became America's Doctor is, to say the least, a very timely biography as well as one that is very accessible to young readers who might be worried about what they hear or experience with regard to COVID-19, given all the controversy surrounding mask wearing and vaccines. As always with a nonfiction book written by Kate Messner, it is well researched and thought out resulting in a very inspiring picture of a man we see so often on television, but don't really know.

The cartoon-style digitally rendered illustrations are colorful, diverse and have lots of kid appeal. Most are two page full-bleed spreads that contribute so much additional detail to the text. 

Messner has also included some important back matter including information on how vaccines work and their safety. My favorite part is "Dr. Fauci's Five Tips for Future Scientists" written by Dr. Fauci. There is also a Time Line of his life, recommended reading and Messner's list of Sources, as well as some of Dr. Fauci's personal photographs. She also had a Zoom interview with Dr. Fauci in November 2020.  

You can find a detailed, 9-page Educator's Guide for this book HERE

I'm a Brooklyn girl and a big fan of Dr. Fauci, so you know I really scrutinized this book and I found it to be an excellent biography. And even though I don't like needles one bit, I got pfizered on Dr. Fauci's recommendation. 

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was provided to me by Audrey Gibbons at Simon & Schuster

1 comment:

  1. I'm really looking forward to getting ahold of this book and reading a copy, especially after reading your review! It sounds like a fascinating (and of course timely) read, and I love the illustration style as well. Thanks so much for the great review!


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