2 out of 4 stars
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With the coming of COVID-19 and the safety precautions that have been put in place, I haven’t been outside for anything but errands in a while. There have been no trips to the cinema, the mall, restaurants, or any recreational area. So I’ve been reading a lot and Capturing a pandemic - a middle schooler's perspective by Sriman Goli is my latest pick.“Sometimes you need the perspective of a kid who doesn’t have all these years of being told it has to be this way.”
-Dr. Ali Mattu, “Being 10 in 2020”, Self Evident
In this book, Goli, an 8th grader with an exceptional understanding of the world, goes through the statistics and science behind COVID-19 and its effect on the world. It’s partly Goli’s journal and partly a text for those looking to learn about the virus, covering about 100 days in his life. Included are his thoughts on the varying lockdown measures and safety precautions in the U.S., as well as different bits of information on the virus, treatments, and vaccines being looked at currently.
What Goli is doing here is admirable work. He took something his father assigned to him and turned it into a valuable resource for those searching for information on what has been done with COVID-19 and what could be done. His intelligence comes out in his analysis, and I like that he keeps things simple enough for fellow 8th graders to understand, much less adults who may not be familiar with all the jargon of an academic paper.
However, Goli is still a child, so a lot of his analysis lacks the wider nuance of international relations, politics and negotiations within the government. It works for the most part, as this allows him to present the science without much of a bias, but it’s lacking in the areas where he covers the economic impact of the virus and the roles China and the W.H.O. played in this pandemic.
The book also needs another round of editing. While it is well-written in many ways, there are errors and awkward phrases that take away from what he’s trying to say in its pages. I think that if he gets those cleared up, the book will be much better for it as there will be nothing to distract from the message.
That being said, Capturing a pandemic is an excellent book for readers looking for information about the virus and about what’s been done. I think it has a lot of potential, but the lack of nuance in certain areas and the errors mean I have to give it a tentative 2 out of 4 stars, with the caveat that I think it can earn more if the author gets it edited once more.
Capturing a pandemic - a middle schoolers perspective
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