This book is #37 in The American Adventure series, but don't worry, you do not need to read the books in order if a particular time period strikes your interest. Reading them in order does have a benefit concerning the books leading up to and following wars because it gives readers a broader understanding of the build up of conflict and the period of restoration following great loss and difficulty.
"The Flu Epidemic" is set in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1818-1819. Not all of the surviving soldiers had returned to the states from WWI yet, and more individuals worldwide had been killed by the Spanish flu outbreak than the number of people killed in the world war. Some other historical events woven into the plot include the killing of songbirds by school children with slingshots and the crash of a low-flying plane in downtown Minneapolis.
Since this book does deal with death, some very sensitive, or very young kids may not handle it well. However, my almost 5-year-old took it all in stride. My sensitive 7-year-old had some questions and it provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the real issues of death and grief. It did not create a fear of germs the way the book presented it, but did discuss preventative measures taken at the time. The book did have a heavy feel at times, as close friends died and flu did strike the household of the narrator which caused apprehension. The book pulled forward and had a positive outlook by the end so readers weren't left feeling hopeless.
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