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Children's Nonfiction Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries

It's Catching

The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes

by (author) Jennifer Gardy

illustrated by Josh Holinaty

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2014
Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries, General, General, Biology
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


Don’t be afraid to delve into the good, bad, and sometimes truly ugly world of germs. Microbiologist Jennifer Gardy, who calls herself a disease detective, picks up her microscope to bring expert insight to the microbes that are all around us but are too small to see. Irreverent, playful, and contagious in all the best ways, It’s Catching discusses a range of germs and the diseases they cause, from the common cold to food poisoning to the Ebola virus.

Kids will be enticed––and pretty grossed out––while becoming immersed in information about pus, bacteria, DNA, genomes, and more. They will learn how germs have shaped human history and also about the individuals who are working to hunt them down. Additional elements, like trading card–style profiles of a variety of diseases, a board game, and a detailed index, make this infectious read both useful and entertaining.

About the authors

Jennifer Gardy, PhD is a self-described disease detective. Currently deputy director, Surveillance, Data, and Epidemiology for the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's malaria team, she has worked at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and hosted science documentaries for CBC Television and Discovery Channel Canada, in addition to research and teaching. She splits her time between Seattle and Chicago.

Jennifer Gardy's profile page


Josh Holinaty détient un diplôme du Alberta College of Art & Design. Il a illustré de nombreux livres et ses illustrations ont été publiées entre autres dans Wired, The New York Times et The Walrus. Josh a grandi en Alberta avec ses frères et soeurs qui essayaient toujours de lui prendre ses croustilles. Maintenant, il vit à Toronto, en Ontario, où il peut [enfin] manger ses croustilles en paix.


Josh Holinaty graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design and has created illustrations for clients such as The New York Times, Wired, and The Walrus. Josh is also the illustrator of A Beginner's Guide to Immortality: From Alchemy to Avatars and It's Catching. Originally from Alberta, he now lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Josh Holinaty's profile page


  • Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children (shortlisted)
  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association Red Maple (Non-Fiction) Award
  • A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book for Kids and Teens (starred selection)
  • Ontario Library Association Best Bets List
  • Short-listed, Canadian Science Writers' Association Science in Society Book Award (shortlisted)

Editorial Reviews

"Gardy and Holinaty have a good sense of the ideal delivery for a middle-grade audience... The combination of clear, matter-of-fact text and lively design makes this a slender study that's big on information."

Kirkus Reviews

"What's not to love about a book that makes an eight-year-old think science is cool?"

The Globe and Mail

"Fascinating and age-appropriate ... written information is perfectly complemented with the amusing illustrations."

Canadian Review of Materials

"An entertaining and informative book for inquisitive children."

Education Library, The University of British Columbia

"A fascinating introduction to microbes and how they affect us ... This is a recommended title that will have readers want to try some of the activities and learn more about the microbes that affect us all. It might also inspire science fair projects that lead to who-knows-what discoveries."

Resource Links

"There's plenty to offer in this complex but comprehensible work ... an entertaining and informative eye-opener."

School Library Journal

"This book is so interesting and filled with so much valuable information that it will be read cover to cover."

Library Media Connection, STARRED REVIEW

"Just the right dose of gross ... This scientific exploration of the cooties is compelling and entertaining. The book's engaging design, featuring charts, graphs and experiments, will encourage further inquiry and discovery."

The National Reading Campaign

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