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Germ Stories -- A Children's Book

By Jeff Berry and Enid Vázquez

January/February 2012

Germ Stories -- A Children's Book

The organizer of ICAAC, the American Society for Microbiology, took on a very different project by lending photographs by Roberto Kolter to be used in a children's picture book called Germ Stories, by Nobel Prize-winning enzymologist Arthur Kornberg. Cute illustrations by Adam Alaniz round out the photos and text.

The HIV germ story centers on a schoolboy named Bill who has hemophilia.

The very short story goes on to explain how unlikely the virus is to be transmitted at school, and how medication keeps Bill well. Other germs visit other children -- yeast and food poisoning, pneumonia, and more.

Unfortunately, AIDS is referred to as "acute immunodeficiency syndrome" instead of "acquired." And "dread disease" is an unfortunate reference. But did you know that "a measly grain of sand is 8,000,000,000 times bigger than a single particle of HIV"? All in all, the book is a dynamic combo of rhyme and science, which may or may not delight any particular child.

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